Biochemistry

Jeffrey Turk

Throughout graduate and postdoctoral studies, I trained as an organic chemist. While in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati I studied the design, synthesis and testing of molecules that recognized and bound DNA and protein surfaces. My doctoral dissertation is titled, “A Structure-Based Approach to Creating Synthetic Protein Mimetics that Bind DNA”.  My postdoctoral research was completed at Purdue University, and I gained additional experience in asymmetric chemistry, total synthesis and solid-phase organic/peptide synthesis. I was also co-director of Purdue’s Combinatorial Library Synthesis Laboratory. 

After spending two years at Purdue University, I was excited to practice the organic chemistry I studied for so long by working in the pharmaceutical industry.  I worked at C.B. Research and Development (now Adesis, Inc.), developing small molecule drug intermediates for only a short while, then my life took an unexpected turn and I spent a little over a year working as a research scientist at International Flavors and Fragrances, creating new aroma chemicals.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that at the end of the day, I wasn’t fully satisfied at the end of the day because I “made the molecule”; I wanted my primary output to be developing students.  After my short tenure in chemical industry, I returned to academia and joined Alma College in 2006.

I hold research with undergraduates dear to my heart, because I truly believe it is the best way to develop the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that are needed to succeed as students leave Alma College.  Not surprisingly, I’ve brought pieces of my past experiences with me to share.  The primary thrust of research conducted in the my group is centered around one key question: Can we create molecules that have the appropriate structure to exhibit the function we want? This question is being explored through two projects involving the design, synthesis and evaluation of: (1) novel enzyme inhibitors, and (2) molecules that exhibit targeted fragrance profiles.

Title

Associate Professor

Discipline

Chemistry

Educational Background

  • Postdoctorate, Purdue University (2002-2004)
  • Ph.D., University of Cincinnati (2002)
  • M.S., University of Cincinnati (2001)
  • B.S., Cleveland State University (1997)

Rank

Associate Professor

My career at Alma began in

2006

I'm an expert in

Organic, Medicinal and Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry

Signature course(s):

Introductory Organic Chemistry (CHM 223/224), Advanced Organic Chemistry (CHM 411), Medicinal Chemistry (CHM 310), Flavor and Fragrance Chemistry (CHM 312)

Recent publications:

  • Turk, J. A.; Beckman, J. D.  “Resources for an Investigative and Sustainable Undergraduate Medicinal Chemistry Program”  J. Chem. Educ., 2012, 90, 137-139.
  • Shubert, V. A.; Baquero, E. E.; Clarkson, J. R.; James, W. H. III; Turk, J. A.; Hare, A. A.; Morrel, K.; Lipton, M. A.; Schofield, D. P.; Jordan, K. D.; Zwier, T. S.  Entropy-driven population distributions in a prototypical molecule with two flexible side chains: O-(2-acetamidoethyl)-N-acetyltyramine.  J. Chem. Phys., 2007, 127, 234315. (I directed Alissa’s synthesis projects during my postdoctoral appointment at Purdue University.  Alissa was then in High School)
  • Krishnamoorthy, R.; Vazquez-Serrano, L. D.; Turk, J. A.; Kowalski, J. A.; Benson, A. G.; Breaux, N. T.; Lipton, M. A.  Solid-Phase Total Synthesis and Structure Proof of Callipeltin B.  J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2006, 128, 15392-15393.
  • Turk, J. A.; Visbal, G.; Lipton, M. A.  Asymmetric Synthesis of Four Diastereomers of 3-Hydroxy-2,4,6-Trimethylheptanoic acid:  Proof of Configurational Assignment.  J. Org. Chem., 2003, 68, 7841-7844.
  • Turk, J. A.; Smithrud, D.B.  Synthesis and Evaluation of Peptidomimetics that Bind DNA. Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2003, 11, 2355-2366.
  • Turk, J. A.; Smithrud, D.B.  Synthesis and Physical Properties of Protein Core Mimetics.  J. Org. Chem., 2001, 66, 8328-8335.
  • Duan, S.; Turk, J.; Spiegle, J.; Corbin, J.; Masnovi, J.; Baker, R. J.  Halogenations of Anthracenes and Dibenz[a,c]anthracene with N-Bromosuccinimide and N-Chlorosuccinimide.  J. Org. Chem., 2000, 65, 3005-3009.

 

Recent presentations:

  • “Design, Synthesis and Testing of Group-1 Specific Neuraminidase Inhibitors.” 244th ACS National Meeting; Philadelphia, PA. 2012. (oral)

  • “Group-1 Specific Neuraminidase Inhibitors Containing an Aromatic Scaffold” Cuthbertson, C. R.; Hanisko, J. M.; Kravat, A. J.; Turk, J. A.   244th ACS National Meeting; Philadelphia, PA. 2012. (poster)
  • “Di- and Tri-Substituted Aromatic Inhibitors of N1 Neuraminidase”, Monroe, A. J.; Gaudard, C. J.; Martinez, C.; Somers, B.; Turk, J. A. 

          American Chemical Society, Midland Section (Alma, MI), October 2011. (oral)

          American Chemical Society, Midland Section (Alma, MI), October 2011. (poster)

  • “Neuraminidase, Transfections and Neuraminidase Inhibitors.”, Campbell, J.; Turk, J. A.; Beckmann, J. D.  PRISM Summer Research Symposium, Alma College, August 2011. (oral)
  • “Developing Recombinant N1 Neuraminidase”, Armstrong, R.; Turk, J. A.; Beckmann, J. D.  

          American Chemical Society, Midland Section (Alma, MI), October 2011, (oral) 

          Honor’s Day, Alma College, April 2011. (oral)

  • “Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of Group-1 Specific Neuraminidase Inhibitors”, Monroe, A. J.; Somers, B.; Turk, J. A.  Student Summer Research Symposium, Alma College, October 2010. (oral)
  • “Engineering the N1 Gene for Viral Neuraminidase Expression”, Armstrong, R.; Duymich, C.; Turk, J. A.; Beckmann, J. D. West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference (Grand Rapids, MI), October 2010. (poster)
  • “Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of Group-1 Specific Neuraminidase Inhibitors”, Duymich, C.; Kallgren, J.; Turk, J. A.  

          Honor’s Day, Alma College, April 2009. (oral) Shared winners of Kapp prize.

          American Chemical Society Meeting (Midland, MI), October 2008. (poster)

  • “Sandalwoods via the Allene-Claisen Rearrangement”, Reed, B.; Turk, J. A.  American Chemical Society Meeting (Midland, MI), October 2008. (poster)  Winner of Best Undergraduate Poster. 
  • “Synthesis and Evaluation of Group-1 Neuraminidase Inhibitors”, Duymich, C.; Turk, J. A.  Student Summer Research Symposium, Alma College, September 2008. (oral)
  • “Sandalwoods via the Allene-Claisen Rearrangement”, Reed, B.; Turk, J. A. Student Summer Research Symposium, Alma College, September 2008. (oral)
  • “Characterization of Trinitrophenylated Adenosine Nucleotide Binding to Bovine Phenol Sulfotransferase (bSULT1A1).”  Macdonald, J.A.; Sawin, A.; Lapham, D.; White, J.; Turk, J.A.; Beckmann, J.D. FASEB/American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biochemistry, 2008. (poster, collaboration with Dr. Beckmann)

 

Recent grants:

  • National Science Foundation ($150,000, funded 2009-2013)

    Title: “RUI: Design, Synthesis and Evaluation of Group-1 Specific Neuraminidase Inhibitors”

  • Grant initiative program ($5000, funded 2011) 

    Title:  “Synthesis of Sandalwood Odorants via Allene-Claisen Rearragements”

  • Faculty Travel Award ($600, funded 2009) 

    Awarded by ACS National Organic Symposium for travel to NOS (2009, Boulder, CO)

  • Grant initiative program ($5000, funded 2007) 

    Title:  “Inhibition of the Avian Influenza Virus Neuraminidase (N1)”

  • Faculty small grants (funded)

    Acquisition of solid phase microextraction (SPME) materials for research and incorporation into teaching ($600, 2010)

    In support of enzyme inhibitor project ($215, 2009)

    In support of fragrance ingredient synthesis projects ($450 each, 2006, 2007, 2008)