Scholar: Sarah Gebrezghi
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Christopher Jeffrey
Research Topic: Mechanistic Investigation of the Reversible Photohydration of Steroidal Contaminants Found in Ecological Systems
Abstract: In this project, the reversible photohydration of trenbolone acetate, a steroidal triene, is investigated. Trenbolone acetate is used as a growth hormone for cattle and is found as a contaminant in rivers in various ecological systems. It was widely believed that this compound was not harmful to the environment due to its fast rate of degradation. But further studies have proved that trenbolone acetate undergoes a mechanism in which it is degraded with exposure to sunlight to a new form, but then is quickly regenerated at night. The exact mechanism and structure of this is not known. This unexpected behavior not only increases the presence of anabolic contaminates in ecological systems but also has implications in human health as well due to its consideration in androgenic pharmaceuticals. Experimental methods we be performed to discover how this compound is able to transform and what it looks structurally. This will be done by conducting hydration reactions using various solvents and conditions. After the major photoproducts are isolated and identified, synthetic studies will be conducted by comparing the product to similar, already known steroidal compounds. This will be used to help us provide access to milligram samples of the major and minor transformation products. Our results found on this steroidal containment can provide the framework for engineers and regulators to effectively protect vulnerable aquatic ecosystems by improving the assessment of this containment.
New Scholar: 2014 cohort
Graduated with a Baccalaureate Degree: 2015