Elise Snow

Date of Award





Chemistry - Biochemistry Track

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Wade Holley

Second Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Meyers

Third Advisor

Dr. Cindy Ticknor


Phytochemistry, a subset of Natural Products Chemistry, studies chemically derived products from natural substances. Advances in this field have important applications in medicinal research due to the distinctive and unique properties of natural compounds. All metabolites are produced from the metabolic cycle, which is a pathway that provides energy for the organism. These metabolic compounds vary greatly and are classified based on their function within the organism. Primary metabolites are abundant and contribute to organism growth, development, and maintenance of energy. Secondary metabolites are found in lesser quantity and correlate to natural defense mechanisms. For example, salicylic acid is a secondary metabolite from Willow bark has antifungal properties to protect the plant but was modified into aspirin for use as an analgesic drug. In a similar aspect, this project works with Eupatorium serotinum (Common name: Late Boneset), an herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family from the Eastern United States. Historically, this small flowering plant was used in teas as an antipyretic, making it a great candidate for drug discovery research. Isolation, separation, and analysis of the chemical constituents in E. serotinum reveals several secondary metabolites with potential medicinal properties. A gradient solvent system with a new method of separation, Dry Column Vacuum Chromatography (DCVC), isolated compounds of interest. The resulting fractions are then tested for growth inhibition against Escherichia coli (E.coli) bacteria and analyzed through Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS).

Included in

Biochemistry Commons