The American Chemical Society (ACS) Division of Organic Chemistry recently announced the 2022 recipients of the organization’s prestigious Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Madison Maiorano ’23, a biochemistry major from Kingston, Massachusetts, was among approximately 15 young scientists to receive an award in the amount of $5,000 this year.  

“I am so pleased to receive this honor,” Maiorano said. “I wasn’t anticipating that I’d be named a fellow, so receiving the email notifying me of this achievement felt surreal.” 

SURF fellowships are designed to support undergraduates studying organic chemistry as they conduct research during the summer between their junior and senior year of college. Fellowships are awarded based on the merit and feasibility of students’ research projects, the demonstrated commitment of the students’ faculty mentors and the importance of the award in facilitating nominees’ career plans, among other factors. 

“This award is only given to the top undergraduate students in the country who are doing synthetic organic chemistry research. The pharmaceutical industry has an often unmet-need for scientists trained in synthetic organic chemistry. I am proud that Madison will have the opportunity to help fill that need through this distinguished fellowship,” said Professor of Chemistry Louis Liotta

Maiorano’s award will fund the work she and Liotta plan to complete through the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) in summer 2022. The pair seek to develop a novel method to efficiently synthesize Casuarine, an organic compound found in medicines used to treat cancer and diabetes.  

“I am drawn to this research because it has such wide-ranging implications,” Maiorano said. “This could benefit a lot of people.” 

Maiorano’s fellowship experience will culminate in an awards dinner and poster session, both scheduled to take place at the Pfizer Research and Development Labs in Groton, Connecticut, later this year. 

Liotta looks forward to collaborating this summer with Maiorano, who has impressed the veteran scientist with her skillful work in the classroom and laboratory over the last few years.   

“Madison has the ability to transfer her knowledge of organic chemistry on paper to the experimental execution of her reactions,” Liotta said. “Without a doubt, she is a very strong student with the drive, personal discipline and leadership skills to be an outstanding researcher.”