Undergraduate Research Explorer
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Siwoo Lee

Siwoo is a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Arts & Science, specializing in Chemistry and minoring in Astrophysics. He participated in a Summer Research Exchange Program at Imperial College London where he worked under the supervision of Professor Henry Rzepa.

Siwoo applied density functional theory at various levels to model the transition state of the Swern oxidation reaction, whereby an alcohol is converted to a ketone/aldehyde. These models were used to accurately replicate experimentally measured deuterium kinetic isotope effects. This included the kinetic isotope effect for two new substituents, which may be useful for designing variants of reagents that could lead to synthesis of ketones/aldehydes incorporating much higher levels of deuterium.

Siwoo is excited to share his research findings in a journal article, that he’ll soon be submitting for peer review. For Siwoo, it’s important to ensure that his research methods and results are publicly available to the scientific community. Not only will Siwoo look to publish with an open source journal, but he’s also shared his results with the FAIR data archives. FAIR, or Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reusability, helps ensure others in the scientific community can learn from his work.

Siwoo cherishes the time he spent in London and the community he built there. He developed a close relationship with his faculty advisor, who was welcoming, encouraging, and a great mentor– “his breadth and depth of knowledge was quite astounding and inspiring.” He feels that living abroad in London greatly expanded his worldview.

Siwoo is currently working on his fourth-year thesis where he aims to develop new algorithms for data-driven studies of materials.

Research Type(s): Summer Research Programs, International Research Experiences