November 3, 2015
Chemistry has always fascinated Peyton Reves. When she toured the University of Mississippi campus to visit the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, her interests were confirmed.
“Dr. Nathan Hammer had his undergraduate and graduate students speak to me about their projects, as well as showed me his labs,” Reeves said. “Observing how closely he worked with his students made me realize that I would be able to receive the hands-on experience I desired.”
Soon Reves began working with Hammer, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Her interests focused on subjects in physical chemistry such as Raman spectroscopy, which provides information about molecular vibrations that can be used to identify molecules. She also utilized quantum mechanical techniques as a means of performing theoretical evaluations.
During her sophomore year, Reves became eager to begin her thesis research and chose Hammer as her advisor.
“I was very impressed at the time with her desire to start her project early and have been impressed ever since with her amazing work ethic and intelligence,” said Hammer.
Reves began focusing on halogen bonding, a subject studied for applications in drug design. Specifically, she studied a biological building block that could potentially provide information for health applications such as manipulating the formation of DNA.
Last summer Reves presented her research to the Mississippi Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) state meeting where all the funded faculty members and students from throughout the state met to discuss the results of their research. Many researchers at UM have received funding from EPSCoR, a program of the National Science Foundation.
Additionally, Reves worked with the Research Experience for Undergraduates, which was funded by Hammer’s NSF CAREER grant to support the Ole Miss Physical Chemistry Summer Research Program. REU funds summer research for 10 non-UM students. She served as social coordinator for the program, mentoring the students, assisting with research, and educating participants on lab equipment and techniques.
Reeves aspires to enter the medical field where she with apply her knowledge in patient drug administration before and after surgical procedures, with a particular interest in anesthesiology.
“An attribute that sets Peyton apart is her dedication and motivation,” said Hammer. “She is a self-starter, eager to get her hands on the project at hand and able to suggest new directions on her own. Peyton is a student of outstanding talent and capability.”
After graduation, Peyton plans to pursue a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at UM.