Department of Chemistry Announces Daniel Swern and Francis H. Case Award Recipients


The Chemistry Dept. is proud to announce this years Francis H. Case Award Recipient,  Nikolay Dementev, as well as the three recipients of the Daniel Swern Award: Ali Eftekhari, Gopal Sirasani and Naresh Theddu. Both awards recognize excellence in research.


              Nikolay Dementev is a senior graduate student working for Professor Eric Borguet. According to Dr. Borguet, “Nikolay is one of the hardest working, most creative, imaginative and persistent students in my research group”.  Nikolay’s research concerns the functionalization of carbon materials including nanotubes. In addition, he recently discovered a novel procedure to purify carbon nanotubes which was published in The Journal of Materials Chemistry. A patent is pending for the procedure. Nikolay also helped to write a successful proposal for funding to continue his research.


              Ali Eftekhari is also in the Borguet Group. Ali’s research involves using lasers to probe ultrafast vibrational dynamics of interfacial water. He has shown that, contrary to previous reports, the vibrational relaxation of the OH stretch occurs far more slowly for water at the neutral SiO2 interface than in bulk water.  Ali has presented his research at a number of scientific meetings and has published two papers with two more under review.  Says, Dr. Borguet: “Ali is one of the brightest students in my group. He is incredibly productive with a bright future.”



Gopal Sirasani works with Professor Rodrigo B. Andrade. His research has focused on the development of synthetic methodology and the total synthesis of natural products, which has resulted in three publications.  Currently, Gopal is working on the step-efficient asymmetric synthesis of various Strychnos alkaloids. According to his advisor, Gopal’s success stems from a diligent, comprehensive and organized approach – “he is very thorough when it comes to synthetic technique, which is highly critical in both methodology and synthesis”.



              Naresh Theddu works for Professor Frank Davis. His research involves the application of sufinimines for the asymmetric synthesis of biorelevant amine derivatives. His most important contribution to date is a new method for the asymmetric synthesis of the tropanone ring system. This new chemistry makes possible, for the first time, the synthesis of new cocaine-type analogues for the treatment of cocaine addiction. According to his advisor, Naresh has mastered all of the usual techniques of organic synthesis with an unparalleled capacity for hard work and creativity.