On May 16, 2016, the Edward J. McNelis Thesis Prize in Chemistry was presented to Briana Mullins and Ravi Pancholi at the New York University Department of Chemistry Graduation Ceremony.
Edward J. McNelis was Professor of Chemistry at New York University from 1967-2003. An active scholar and devoted teacher, Professor McNelis made numerous contributions at many levels. While his research was focused in organic chemistry, he was an intellectual whose interests were broad. He was Department Chair in the 1980's, when he provided leadership in all aspects of our department. In honor of the contribution of Professor McNelis to academia, this prize is designed to encourage students to pursue research in the chemical sciences at the graduate level and beyond.
The Edward J. McNelis Thesis Prize in Chemistry was established with generous gifts from Professor McNelis’ sons, Joseph and John. While the memorial award was Joseph's brainchild, it was John who personally presented the award to Briana and Ravi in May. Joseph is a gastroenterologist who relocated with his family to Fargo, North Dakota. John is the Chair of Surgery at Jacobi Medical Center and North Central Bronx Hospital, and Professor of Clinical Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The prize includes $1,000 and a commemorative award. The design on the award (pictured on top) includes a typical product of a reaction known as “The McNelis Rearrangement,” coined by Professor Gerald F. Koser of The University of Akron, in his review article in the anniversary issue of Aldrichimica Acta, "1951-2001: Fifty Years of Chemists Helping Chemists." The McNelis Rearrangement was discovered with the assistance of Pakorn Bovonsombat, a graduate student in Professor McNelis' lab at the time. Pakorn is currently the Chair of the Science Division at Mahidol University in Thailand, and we thank him for his contribution toward honoring the memory of his beloved advisor.
Briana Mullins did her undergraduate research in the laboratory of Professor Martin Blaser, who is Chief of Medicine at NYU Langone. Her prize-winning thesis is entitled, "Effects of Antibiotics on the Microbiome of the Gut." She will continue to work in the Blaser Lab while applying to Ph.D programs. Ravi Pancholi did his undergraduate research in the laboratory of Marisa Carrasco, Professor of Psychology and Neural Science. His prize-winning thesis is entitled, "The Neural Perceptual Consequences of Rapid Statistical Adaption in Humans." Ravi has been accepted to the prestigious MD/Ph.D program at NYU Langone, and will continue his research in Chemistry and Neural Science. Congratulations to Briana and Ravi!