Sherri Young   Institute for Jewish-Christian Understanding
Assistant Professor
Trumbower 334
(484) 664-3271

B.S. in Chemistry, Albright College, 2007
Ph.D. in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry,
     Lehigh University, 2012



During my time at Albright College, I was involved in two research projects. On the first project, I used nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, a powerful tool used in structure determination, to determine the keto-enol equilibrium constants for a series of 1,3-dicarbonyl compounds. The second project involved the exploration of a novel rearrangement mechanism of heterocyclic imines to form 1,3,4-triazoles.

As a Ph.D. student, I worked on two collaborative and interdisciplinary projects, one involving the design, synthesis, and optimization of topical agents for the treatment of sulfur mustard (i.e. mustard gas) blistering and the other exploring the use of a biosensor to detect binding interactions between small molecules and acetylcholinesterase enzyme.    

Current Research Interests:
My research interests lie at the interface of chemistry and biology. Broadly, I am interested in improving the pharmacokinetics (PK) and clinical efficacy of known drugs by altering their physicochemical properties. It is a common misconception that drugs only fail because of weak receptor binding or high toxicity. Drugs can also fail to reach the market because of poor PK properties. There is hence a large and accessible arsenal of viable drug leads just waiting to be improved upon.     

Drugs intended to treat CNS disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) often suffer from low clinical efficacy because they are blocked entrance to the brain by the blood-brain barrier (BBB).  My current research focuses on improving the BBB permeability of known drugs by linking them to high-permeability shuttles. My students use solid-phase organic synthesis, a method that involves a reagent or product attached to a polymer bead, to synthesize these peptidomimetics, column chromatography for purification, and thin layer chromatography, NMR spectroscopy, high-performance liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry for product characterization. Finally, an in vitro membrane permeability assay is used to assess the BBB permeability of these novel compounds. 

Current Young Group Members:
Yeonji (Elly) Kim, Class of 2017
Alyssa Weist, Class of 2017
Shanae Nguyen, Class of 2017
William Bowman, Class of 2018
Andrew Rice, Class of 2019
Troy Lovett, Class of 2019
Evan Geissler, Class of 2019

Recent Publications, Book Chapters, and Patents:

Young, SC;* Colabroy, KL; Baar, MR. Comparable Educational Benefits in Half the Time:  An Alternating Organic Chemistry Laboratory Sequence Targeting Pre-Health Students. J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 2004-2011.   

Young, SC;* Smith, KT; DeBlasio, JW; Hamann, CS.* Utilizing NMR to Study Structure and Equilibrium in the Organic Chemistry Laboratory. In NMR Spectroscopy in the Undergraduate Curriculum:  First Year and Organic Chemistry Courses Volume 2; Soulsby, D; Wallner, T; Anna, L, Eds.; ACS Symposium Series 1221; American Chemical Society:  Washington, D.C., 2016. 

Lacey, CJ; Wohlman, I; Guillon, C.; Saxena, J; Fianu-Velgus, C; Aponte, E; Young, SC; Heck, DE; Joseph, LB; Laskin, JD; Heindel, ND.* Multi-Inhibitor Prodrug Constructs for Simultaneous Delivery of Anti-Inflammatory Agents to Mustard-Induced Skin Injury. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 2016, 1378, 174-179. 

Laskin JD, Heindel ND, Heck DE, Lacey CJ, Young SC, "Augmenting Moieties for Anti-Inflammatory Compounds," U.S. Patent 9,512,068 (issued 6 December 2016).

DeSantis-Rodrigues, A; Hahn, RA; Pol, IP…Young, SC et al. ADAM17 inhibitors attenuate corneal epithelial detachment induced by mustard exposure, Invest. Ophthalmology & Vis. Sci. 2016, 57, 1687-1698.

Smith, KT; Young, SC; DeBlasio, JW; Hamann, CS.* Measuring Structural and Electronic Effects on Keto-Enol Equilibrium in 1,3-Dicarbonyl Compounds.  J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 790-794.    

Saxena, J; Meloni, D; Huang, MT; Heck, D; Laskin, JD; Heindel, ND; Young, SC.* Ethynylphenyl Carbonates and Carbamates as Dual-Action Inhibitors of Acetylcholinesterase.  Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2015, 25, 5609-5612.   

*indicates corresponding author.  

Recent Presentations:

251st National American Chemical Society Meeting, San Diego, CA, “Design and Synthesis of Metal-Chelating Peptoids for the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease”, 2016. (Student co-presenter:  Jacqui Hamati)

249th National American Chemical Society Meeting, Denver, CO, “Design and Synthesis of Multifunctional NSAID-Peptoid Conjugates”, 2015. (Student co-presenter:  Bryan Auvil)

249th National American Chemical Society Meeting, Denver, CO, “An Organic Chemistry Laboratory Sequence Alternating Laboratory Experiments with Guided Inquiry Exercises”, 2015.

 “Measuring Structural and Electronic Effects on Keto-Enol Equilibrium in 1,3-Dicarbonyl Compounds”, Talk given at the 249th National American Chemical Society Meeting, Denver, CO, 2015.

Courses Taught:
CHM186 – Pharma:  A Scientific Approach (part of the cluster, Pharma:  Friend or Foe?)
CHM 201/205 - Organic Chemistry I/IA
CHM 202/206 - Organic Chemistry II/IIA
CHM 486 - Medicinal Chemistry (1/2 credit)
CHM 489 - Advanced Organic Synthesis (1/2 credit; focuses on solid-phase synthesis)