Patrick Willoughby, two alumni contribute to published paper

Associate Professor of Chemistry Patrick Willoughby has a paper published by ACS Publications. Two of the student co-authors are Ripon College alumnae: Sierra Thein ’22 of Oostburg, Wisconsin, a chemistry major; and Abbigail Grieger ’22 of Fargo, North Dakota, a chemistry-biology major.

The paper describes a collaboration between Ripon College and the University of Wisconsin-Madison which started while Willoughby was on sabbatical.

“In this study, we discovered a new chemical process for synthesizing amino acids by using two enzymes,” Willoughby says. “The two enzymes work together to make previously unreported amino acids. The enzymes are grown in bacteria cells, and the cells are used directly as the catalyst just like any other chemical.

“In addition to being a green and sustainable process, this study provided fundamental organic chemistry insights into how one of the enzymes was working.”

(Photo: Clockwise from top left: Abbigail Grieger ’22, Sierra Thein ’22, Patrick Willoughby)

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