Ellyn Santiago – Contributor
NEW HAVEN, CT — Gillian Ofori-Ntiamoah, a 2019 graduate of Hillhouse High School, is making waves in New Haven’s growing life science industry.
A “superstar” senior at Southern Connecticut State University, she’s pursuing her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. Her interest is focused on pharmaceutical sales, which was borne out of her search for a rewarding career that integrates science and medicine.
“This career path can give me the opportunity to let clinicians know about the medical benefits of giving patients a particular company’s product and meet with healthcare professionals to describe the drug’s chemistry, uses, and side effects of said products,” Ofori-Ntiamoah said. “Being a pharmacy technician, working in labs, and performing a wide range of research, I have acquired the necessary knowledge about drug preparation and discovery. My ultimate goal is to be a Health Specialist in the field of Oncology.”
For the past several months, Ofori-Ntiamoah has been engaged in a research project, which was supported by a grant from Alexion made to the Southern Connecticut State University Foundation and the BioPath program.
This grant not only afforded Ofori-Ntiamoah the opportunity to earn a stipend, but also fund the equipment and supplies needed to conduct her experiments. Her research involved synthesizing novel organic compounds using the Petasis borono-Mannich reaction. This chemistry can be used to prepare molecules with biological activity, including natural products and drugs. She focused on optimizing the reaction conditions and extending the scope of the methodology with the goal of applying the reaction to the synthesis of a target molecule with potential therapeutic relevance.
“Gillian has made excellent progress on her research project since joining my lab in the fall,” Southern Chemistry Professor Dr. Todd Ryder said. “I’ve been very impressed by how quickly she has learned several new experimental techniques and how to operate the analytical instrumentation in the chemistry department.”
Completing a research experience can set students apart in terms of not only developing, but also
demonstrating skills and attributes needed by New Haven’s innovative Life Science industry.
She was recently hired by Medtronic as a Lab Technician, where she works in the polymer lab. There, she runs tests on raw materials used to make sutures for surgical procedures.
“I’m excited by this opportunity to make a positive impact on patients around the world,” she said.