ATLAS Institute PhD candidate Kailey Shara passed her comprehensive exam on August 8. Her work on her dissertation, "Designing New Hardware for Chemical Automation," is overseen by committee members Assistant Professor Carson J. Bruns, Professor Mark Gross, Daniel Szafir, assistant professor of computer science at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Associate Professor Gregory Whiting and Professor Eric Bogatin.
ABSTRACT: This comprehensive exam proposal outlines our recent work to build new automation hardware for synthetic chemistry labs. Synthetic chemistry drives innovation in countless domains, ranging from life-saving pharmaceuticals to advanced materials for energy harvesting and space exploration. Accelerating the pace of organic synthesis has thus far been challenging to achieve through automation, but this goal is highly anticipated since organic synthesis is often the main R&D bottleneck for many projects. The proposal covers ongoing work in the design and construction of an all-in-one robotic platform for automated chemical synthesis. The goal is to reach a working prototype of a robot that can automatically complete an entire chemical synthesis.
Originally from Montreal, Canada, Shara studied both chemistry and electrical engineering at Case Western Reserve University before joining the ATLAS Institute in 2018 to pursue her PhD. Advised by Carson Bruns, director of the Laboratory for Emergent Nanomaterials, her research focus includes the synthesis of artificial molecular machines, as well as engineering systems for laboratory automation. Her startup company, Chembotix, has won numerous awards including first place in the 2022 New Venture Challenge (NVC) championship.