About Me

I'm a Ph.D. Candidate in Chemistry and Biochemistry in the Hud Lab at Georgia Tech. I'm interested in gaming, coding, astrobiology, and the outdoors. I hail from Los Angeles but have a soft spot for the south. I believe that to be challenged in one's beliefs is to truly understand them, and welcome those who would engage me in discussion. I also hope that sharing my thoughts can lead to greater conversation.

My nickname "Tyro" is a shortening of my first and last name, but I've come to learn that as a real word, "tyro" is of neoclassical origin, stemming from an alternate spelling of the latin word "tiro", meaning recruit or learner. In 1610, the iatrochemist Jean Beguin published what has been cited as the first chemistry textbook, the Tyrocinium Chymicum, cementing the shift from alchemy to chemistry in the sciences.

I believe in the Zen Buddhist concept of 初心 (shoshin), or the "beginner's mind", in my approach to learning about any topic. Thus, I strive to cultivate my own Tyrocinium, or place of learning, in all of my efforts.

Research

Prebiotic Noncanonical Nucleoside Formation

Relevant Publication:
Prebiotic Synthesis of Noncanonical Nucleosides and Nucleotides.

Noncanonical nucleosides could have predated the traditional "RNA World" in chemical evolution, and their formation could have occurred in a variety of ways. Importantly, divalent nucleosides are much more likely to react with sugars in chemical contexts that preclude hydroxide as a nucleofuge.

Ketose Sugars and Nucleoside Formation

Relevant Publication: In preparation

The formation of sugars on the early Earth could have happened by a variety of processes beyond the traditional formose reaction. Some of these reliably produce ketose sugars, which could have served as a pool of stable sugars that could "leach" substrates for nucleobase capture via interconversion to aldoses. In this way, nucleosides of glucose and ribose could have formed robustly on the early Earth.

Reactivity of Noncanonical Nucleobases

Relevant Publication: In preparation

The chemical space of nucleophilic heterocycles is vast, yet life primarily uses five of these: adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine, and uracil. Promising noncanonical nucleobases such as barbituric acid, melamine, 2,4,6-triaminopyrimidine, and cyanuric acid have interesting properties, such as the ability to base-pair as monomers in water, form supramolecular assemblies, and react readily with sugars such as ribose. These nucleobases display interesting reactivity trends beyond aldose sugars and under varying conditions such as solution-phase, dry-down, and in eutectic solvents.

Experience

Teaching

Undergraduate Minor in Astrobiology

I am working on creating an Undergraduate Minor in Astrobiology, modeled after the Graduate Certificate in Astrobiology already offered at Georgia Tech, an effort which I hope will improve interdisciplinary learning among students who began with an interest in one or a few of the many fields encompassed by Astrobiology.

Tech to Teaching

I will soon complete the Tech to Teaching certificate program at Georgia Tech, including a Minor in Higher Education pending completion of the capstone component of the program.

Teaching Assistant Experience

  • 2012–2013: "Climate Change" (University of Southern California)
    Instructed a lab/project section involving multiple models and demonstrations involving climate change and its effects on the Earth today.
  • 2017–2018: "Introduction to Quantitative Analysis" (Georgia Institute of Technology)
    Supervised lab sections focused on the accurate measurement and statistical analysis of a variety of standard chemical experiments including titrations, gravimetric analysis, spectroscopic analysis, and more.
  • 2021: "Survey of Biochemistry" (Georgia Institute of Technology)
    Assisted instruction, held office hours, and wrote assessment content for an upper-level biochemistry course for undergraduate students.

Outreach:

As part of the Center for Chemical Evolution, I participated in such events as Buzz on Biotech, the Atlanta Science Festival, and STEAM night at Mableton Elementary School as a volunteer to manage and implement scientific demos for children and the general public.

Blog

I use Medium to blog; you can find me at medium.com/@tyler.roche.