Tova Bergsten '15: Thesis Research in the Groves Lab

By Tova Bergsten
Wednesday, May. 13, 2015

Groves and Bergsten
Professor John T. Groves and Tova Bergsten '15

How did you discover this research opportunity?

I was lucky enough to be offered an undergraduate placement in Professor Groves’s lab. After I studied abroad my Junior spring, Professor Groves welcomed me into the lab over the summer and for the coming year. I am happy to have called his lab home for my thesis work.

When and where was your research experience?

Through the summer of 2014 and throughout the 2014-15 school year I worked in the laboratory of Professor Groves at Princeton. Finding a thesis laboratory is a necessary part of the chemistry department at Princeton, but I am thankful for the opportunity to work with such talented researchers.

What was your research project?

The Groves lab had just published a paper on a new fluorination method when I joined the lab. When I was speaking to Professor Groves about choosing a thesis project, we decided that branching this method out to other ligands would be worth a try. Together graduate student Xiongyi Huang and I experimented with azides and had some promising results. Our project blossomed as we looked into more and more aspects of the reaction, including yield and enantioselectivity. This project’s research and results compose our now published paper “Manganese-Catalyzed Late-Stage Aliphatic C-H Azidation,” found in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

What were the highlights?

Every member of the Groves lab is quite gifted. I enjoyed working with them all very much, especially Xiongyi. I learned a lot about the research process from working with him and have some great memories from the experience.

What did you take away from this experience?

Since this was my first longterm lab experience, I learned quite a bit. Especially about the effort it takes to write a paper. I had never contributed to a scientific paper before, only read them. It was very eye opening to be on the experimenting, writing, and publishing side of a paper instead of simply being a reader. Since I plan to continue with scientific research, what I’ve learned through this experience will definitely be useful for my future work. 

Read Tova's article published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.