This story was originally published at CEN.ACS.org.
Much like the dandelion blossoms they resemble, these crystals—each one around 25 mm in diameter, or the size of a US quarter—will soon be transformed into something new. The compound that formed them came from an intermediate step in a 12-step synthesis that chemist Alison Hart had embarked upon. Her target was a deuterated molecule that’s a potential drug candidate for myelofibrosis, a type of blood cancer. Hart is a chemist at the contract research organization MRIGlobal, where she helps drug companies and other clients optimize their synthetic processes.