Departments of Chemistry & Molecular Biosciences

Current Scholars

Kathryn Brewer
2016 Beckman Program Scholar

Kathryn Brewer is from Overland Park, Kansas, where she attended Blue Valley West High School. She is majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry.  The project she is pursuing under the mentorship of Dr. Audrey Lamb focuses on understanding an iron uptake system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which involves the synthesis of iron-chelating molecules called siderophores. In this project, one of the enzymes in the biosynthetic pathway of the siderophore called pyoverdin is being studied. This enzyme requires post-translational modification prior to becoming catalytically active.  A fluorescent probe has been synthesized that will allow this modification to be detected, and modification tests are currently underway. Once modification has been successfully demonstrated, kinetic studies and crystallization efforts of the protein will begin.

Collin Clay
2016 Beckman Program Scholar

Collin Clay grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma and attended Edmond High School. Collin began his undergraduate research work in the lab of Dr. Robert Ward in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. After switching his major to chemistry, he joined Dr. Carey Johnson’s research group in 2015. He has also been a part of the KU/Dublin City University chemistry research exchange program and worked on a research project in the lab of Dr. Dermot Diamond at DCU for one summer. In June of 2016, Collin joined the laboratory of Dr. Paul Hanson.  His Beckman Scholars project is aimed at the development of small molecule probes capable of modulating regulatory enzymes involved in important biochemical pathways. He is currently synthesizing cyclic exo-vinyl Michael acceptors and studying reactivity patterns of thiol reactive moieties using a variety of analytical techniques. His work aims to provide novel tools for assessing protein functions for biological studies.

Mattea Keister
2017 Beckman Program Scholar

Mattea Keister grew up in Arvada, Colorado, where she attended Ralston Valley High School. She is majoring in biochemistry. She joined Dr. Lisa Timmons lab in August 2016 where she started working on an unusual form of gene silencing that was observed in transgenic strains of Caenorhabditis elegans.  The findings are reminiscent of genetic imprinting mechanisms in humans and may illuminate unintended consequences of genetic manipulation.  The goal is to use biochemical and genetic approaches to uncover the underlying mechanism for this form of silencing.  Mattea plans to continue her education in an MD/PhD program with the goal of pursuing biomedical research.

Zachary Wood
2017 Beckman Program Scholar

Zachary Wood is from Eureka, MO where he attended Eureka High School. He is majoring in chemistry with a minor in mathematics. In November of 2015, Zach joined Professor Misha Barybin’s research laboratory where he has been engaged in undergraduate research at the interface of organometallic and materials branches of chemistry.  As a Beckman Scholar, Zach will work toward gaining important quantitative insight into tuning electronic characteristics of organometallic molecular wires with the goal of designing new nanoscale materials relevant to applications in organic electronics. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in chemistry and, embark on a research career in the chemistry of functional materials.


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