Dartmouth dedicates new chemistry building

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<ul><li><p>Role of computers in drug discovery analyzed An informal group of computational chemists has begun to compare experi-ences on how best to integrate comput-er-aided techniques into the drug dis-covery process. </p><p>The group was formed in June, when 16 directors of computational chemistry and of medicinal chemistry at eight phar-maceutical companies convened at a workshop on Mackinac Island, Mich. "The basic thrust of the workshop was to analyze the impact of computer-aided methods on drug discovery and how it could be improved," says Gerald M. Maggiora of Upjohn Laboratories, who organized the meeting with Peter Gund of </p><p>.Merck Research Laboratories and James P. Snyder of G. D. Searle &amp; Co. Partici-pants from each of the eight companies were able to cite cases showing the effec-tiveness of computational methods in the discovery and refinement of 'lead" com-pounds for potential new drugs. </p><p>The group expanded at the recent American Chemical Society meeting, in Washington, D.C., where about 300 re-searchers attended a symposium and panel discussion on medicinal chemistry and computer-aided drug design. To continue the dialogue, the organizers of these two meetings are now thinking of organizing a larger workshop in about a year that would involve more people and more points of view. </p><p>The group believes, says Maggiora, that "if s important to begin to address issues about how computational methods influ-ence the process of drug discovery. If s the way these techniques are integrated into the process that gives them their power-not the techniques in themselves. You can have the best molecular dynamics and huge computers, and it can have no im-pact on dnig discovery." </p><p>The group believes the future of computer-aided drug discovery will see a greater integration between the different types of computer-based in-formationincluding chemical and bi-ological informatics, biological simula-tions, molecular modeling, database searching, and chemometrics. "We feel it's important to keep this kind of dia-logue going," says Maggiora, "because it benefits all the companies. We all learn from each other." </p><p>Stu Borman </p><p>Dartmouth dedicates new chemistry building </p><p>For the chemistry department at Dartmouth College, in Hanover, N.H., the move must have seemed long overdue. But the department is now set-tling into its new quarters in Burke Lab-oratory, following dedication ceremo-nies held late last month. </p><p>The department had been feeling the constraints of overcrowding and obso-lescent facilities. Most of its programs had been housed at Steele Hall, which had been constructed in 1922 and was last renovated more than 30 years ago. </p><p>"Burke Laboratory ensures Dart-mouth's future as a nationally recognized center for chemistry teaching and re-search," says chemistay department chair-man Russell P. Hughes. 'It represents a tremendous commitment on Dartmouth's part to the future of science education at the undergraduate and graduate levels." </p><p>Hughes expresses delight that the building is named Burke Laboratory rath-er than Burke Hall. It says that science is performed in the building, he explains. Among the features in the $26.5 million building are an open design to encourage faculty and student interaction, safety details, and a $250,000 computer system. </p><p>The Dartmouth chemistry department includes 15 full-time-equivalent faculty, eight to 10 postdoctoral research associ-ates, and 35 graduate students. The facul-ty members teach all of the undergradu-ate courses, with graduate students and undergraduate teaching assistants helping only in the laboratory. Except for one in-troductory chemistry class for nonmajors, every chemistry course has a lab compo-nent. About half of the chemistry majors conduct undergraduate research. </p><p>The open design aspect of Burke Laboratory com-plements Dartmouth's collaborative-atmosphere approach, where under-graduates, graduates, and faculty members work side by side in the labora-tory. This approach, the school believes, provides undergraduates with an understanding of the re-wards of chemistry re-search. </p><p>A physical separation of students' .desks from lab benches is one of the </p><p>safety features of the new building. Stu-dents can work at the desks without needing to wear safety equipment, while at the same time they can monitor exper-iments through glass windows. The building is also very ventilation inten-sive. For example, most of the 138 hoods in the building are individually vented. </p><p>The department has also received grants that enabled it to put together a computer package based on an IBM RISC 6000 system, with workstations to be located in teaching labs as well as in research labs. </p><p>The building is named for Walter Burke, a 1944 graduate of Dartmouth who for more than 30 years served as president and treasurer of Sherman Fairchild Foun-dation, a philanthropic organization that has supported projects at Dartmouth as well as other colleges and organizations. Burke also served as a trustee of Dart-mouth for more than a decade. </p><p>James Krieger </p><p>In Burke Laboratory (entrance, top photo), Hughes (nght) and Owen Curnow check equipment at a lab station </p><p>OCTOBER 5,1992 C&amp;EN 59 </p><p>Role of computers indrug discovery analyzed</p></li></ul>