Highly Commended Undergraduate Award for Sophie Greaves

A fourth year undergraduate research thesis written by Sophie Greaves, a 2017 graduate, has been recognised as Highly Commended by the Undergraduate Awards for the 2017 programme. This places Sophie’s research in the top 10% of the Chemical and Pharmaceutical category. Sophie is one of 17 University of Sheffield students to have been awarded the Highly Commended UA, in addition to two Regional Winners.

The Undergraduate Awards assembles a panel of experts to assess the research entries submitted for all categories to recognise the top undergraduate work. This year they received 6,432 submissions from students in 299 Institutions across 47 countries.

Sophie Greaves has been awarded a Highly Commended Undergraduate AwardSophie’s fourth year was working with Prof. Iain Coldham with a thesis entitled: “Kinetic Resolutions by Lithiation of N-Boc-2-aryldihydroquinolines”. Sophie’s project involved the synthesis of novel racemic dihydroquinolines from simple starting materials. Substituted dihydroquinolines have many potential applications. In particular, it has been shown that some can pass the Blood-Brain Barrier making them potential treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or schizophrenia.

The molecules Sophie synthesized were all novel, proceeding through a different mechanism of deprotonation and electrophilic addition to previous studies. The different structures means investigations are on-going to investigate the effects of substitution, in particular changing the electronic properties of the aryl groups.

After hearing about the Undergraduate Awards from her SURE scheme project, supervised by Prof. Joe Harrity, Sophie decided to submit her level 4 thesis. She is now starting a PhD also supervised by Prof. Joe Harrity, working on catalysis and heterocycles building on research from a previous PhD student.

Sophie’s Highly Commended undergraduate Award comes just three months after she was also awarded a joint share of the Brocklehurst Prize for the greatest overall improved performance in penultimate and final year projects, the start of a prestigious academic career.

Congratulations are extended to Sophie for her outstanding achievement.