Publication Year



Chemistry, nitrogen, mustard gas, gases


Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Nitrogen mustards were one of the first antineoplastic agents used in the fight against cancer. They are alkylating agents, which means that they covalently bind to DNA to inhibit its replication, thereby inhibiting the proliferation of cancer cells. However, the mechanism by which this inhibition takes place still remains somewhat of a mystery. One question that still hasn't been answered conclusively is which DNA base makes the best nucleophile. Most studies have shown guanine to be the most likely site of alkylation, but recently there has been questions raised as to whether adenine is a better nucleophile. I will use computational chemistry to try to determine which base is indeed the best nucleophile. I also hope to show why certain nitrogen mustards are more reactive than others based on their activation energies and their electrostatic potentials. It is hoped that this research will lead to the development of even more effective nitrogen mustards.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status