It feels very long time ago when Bryce Gaskins joined my lab in early 2020, just before the pandemic disruption. I hired him to help organize the massive amount of compounds accumulated by researchers at KU and from elsewhere over decades of research activity. I called this the Burckhalter collection, but there were many other contributors including Gary Grunewald, Bob Hanzlik, etc.

disorgnized vials
Disorganized vials.

So, Bryce masks up and gets to work slapping barcodes onto vials and getting all these structures into a SMILES format, which meant he had to draw them all out manually. It was a ton of work.

compound registration
Bryce registering compounds during the pandemic.

Once he had about 10,000 compounds done, he turned to learning the ropes of organic synthesis. Initially, he worked wit Sri Kolluru, a postdoc in the group, on the nickel project, and then he worked with Manvendra on photochemical projects. He contributed substantially to two important publications from the group, but he also worked on a lot of things that we didn’t publish (yet).

sri and bryce
Bryce learning the secrets of organic synthesis from Sri.

Eventually, he became quite independent and worked on his own projects. Spending summers at UC Irvine in Vy Dong’s lab, and at Merck Research Labs helped grow his expertise in organic synthesis.

bryce at the hood
Independent researcher.

Now, Bryce is off to Caltech to continue learning and work on his PhD thesis. I am proud of having played a part in this growth. Good job, Bryce!