Research in the Parish group focuses on understanding the dynamical behavior of interesting molecular systems. The tools of quantum mechanics, conformational searching and free energy simulation are used to answer questions about the structure, energy and dynamics of HIV-1 protease inhibitor drugs, Bergman cyclization in enediyne anti-cancer warhead drugs, homology modeling of membrane-bound desaturase enzymes, investigations of the flexibility of polyoligomeric silsesquioxane cages (POSS), the role of O-to-N acyl migration in insect defense secretions and oligomeric models for synthetic enzymes that display enzyme-like acyltransferase activity. The physical nature of our work is diverse; however, the unifying theme is our methodological, physical-chemistry based approach.
I am honored to serve on the Beckman Scholars Executive committee because I believe so strongly in so many of Dr. Beckman’s philosophies. Investing in the education and training of young scientists for the betterment of humanity has been a guiding principle in my career. The involvement of undergraduates in cutting-edge, outcome-oriented research helps them to develop scientific creativity, increases their resilience and problem-solving skills, and helps them learn to be innovative and entrepreneurial. These are the very skills that Dr. Beckman possessed, in abundance. Therefore, it is fitting that the Beckman Foundation supports programs that nurtures these skills in young scientists.