Grant Recipients

August 2017: Bing Yan, 2017 Annual Meeting of International Society of Electrochemistry, Providence RI

I would like to take this opportunity to thank MIT WIC for their generous financial support, which made it possible for me to participate in the 68th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry in Providence, RI. Under the theme of “Electrochemistry without borders”, the 2017 ISE meeting covered all of the frontier fields of electrochemistry, spanning from the fundamental electron transfer to electrocatalysis in renewable energy, from the bio-sensing to pollution treatment. I appreciated the chance to give a short oral presentation on some of my previously published research to the experts around the world. I received insightful comments and feedbacks. I was also able to attend a few talks outside of my research, such as the session featuring electrochemical technology for solving 21th century challenges, which inspired me of my future research directions.

 

Additionally, I am grateful for the professional networking opportunities that ISE Annual Meeting presented. I talked with many students and professors, especially meeting with my computation collaborator from Carnegie Mellon University, and several professors from China. The experiences at 68th ISE Annual Meeting are indispensable for me as a fourth-year graduate student starting to think about and prepare for the next steps in my career. I want to thank WIC again for this valuable opportunity.

August 2017: Mette Ishoey, Benzon Symposium 63 – New Paradigms of Protein Engineering – Applications in Modern Medicine

The Women in Chemistry Professional Development Grant I received enabled me to attend the 63rd Benzon Symposium ‘New Paradigms of Protein Engineering – Applications in Modern Medicine,’ in August 2017, Copenhagen, Denmark. The Benzon Symposia are international conferences on front line research in medical, pharmaceutical and related sciences funded by the Danish Alfred Benzon Foundation. Topics of this year’s symposium covered a range of sessions on post-translational protein modifications, through expansion of the genetic code to peptide and
protein therapeutics. The symposium was attended by internationally renowned faculty, as well as postdocs and graduate students from all over the world, and I got to give a presentation on my research in front of the 100+ audience.
I presented my work on evaluating the efficiency of different E3 ligase-recruiting ligands for their ability to promote degradation of a target protein, and I got very valuable feedback from the audience helping me shape the future directions of my project. The symposium was a unique opportunity to get updated on current active areas of research within protein and peptide-based therapeutics, and the ample time for scientific discussions was very enlightening. The symposium was very well-organized, and provided the most favorable setting for interacting with a variety of researchers working in my field of interest – both at poster sessions, during
breaks and at the more informal welcome reception and symposium banquet. Most importantly, I got the opportunity to establish important connections within the scientific community in Denmark, which will be valuable for pursuing an independent research career there.
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the WIC Professional Development committee for enabling me to attend the 63rd Benzon Symposium – an experience I will benefit from in the years to come, both professionally and personally.

July 2017: Amanda Stubbs, Organometallic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference – Organometallics in Catalysis, Materials Chemistry, Energy and More

I would like to express my gratitude for the WIC Professional Development Grant that helped me attend the Organometallic Chemistry Gordon Research Conference hosted at Salve Regina University in July 2017. At this conference I presented a poster on my work titled “Selective Catalytic Olefin Epoxidation with MnII-Exchanged MOF-5.” In the two poster sessions I presented at I received a lot of helpful feedback; as a metal organic framework (MOF) chemist working on catalysis problems it was very helpful for me to gain the perspective of a group of scientists who are trained solving problems with molecular complexes (how I like to approach catalysis and mechanistic studies in my materials) rather than in the solid state as is typical in the MOF field. It was informative to attend seminars in the various branches of organometallic chemistry and I learned a lot about chemistry that I was previously unfamiliar with. As my first formal conference presentation since starting graduate school, the intimate setting that is characteristic of Gordon Conferences provided me with an environment that was very welcoming and supportive in helping me further my chemistry. Additionally, this GRC was an excellent networking opportunity for me as I am entering my fourth year of my

Additionally, this GRC was an excellent networking opportunity for me as I am entering my fourth year of my PhD studies. Throughout the week I made connections with other graduate students, post docs, faculty, and industry professionals. It was very helpful for me to speak with chemists who have followed different career paths and gain insight into the pros and cons of a given position. Not only will these conversations be helpful when deciding which career path is right for me, but I also made connections that may be valuable as I join the professional world after obtaining my PhD.

 

July 2017: Lisa Cunden, Cell Biology of Metals Gordon Research Conference, West Dover, VT (awarded CEHS funds)

The WIC travel grant I received made it possible for me to attend the Gordon Research Seminar (GRS) on the Cell Biology of Metals, in Vermont. The conference was attended by faculty, as well as graduate students and postdocs with interest in the field of metals in biology. The GRS was my first major conference as a graduate student, and it was an incredibly intellectually rewarding experience. I got to present a poster on my research, and give a talk in front of an audience of 40+ people.

My research focuses on the human host-defense protein, S100A7 (psoriasin) which is
expressed by skin cells and has antimicrobial properties. I am interested in investigating its Zinc-binding and redox properties; the protein contains two Zinc binding sites, as well as two redox active cysteines, which we postulate modulate the role of the protein at physiological conditions. From the conference, I got valuable feedback on my results, which helped me think
more critically about my research. I came out of this conference also having learned a lot about what others in my field of research are doing, what are the current “hot topics”, and most importantly it was a good introduction to other labs since I am considering doing a postdoc in this field. The conference was very laid back, with a lot of interesting and thought-provoking questions asked, a good atmosphere, and good mentors and presenters.

I would like to thank WIC for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to using the skills and connections gained during this conference to help me become a better scientist.

July 2017: Katherine Emily Shulenberger, Nanoscience with Nanocrystals (NaNaX), Braga, Portugal

I am incredibly grateful to the Women in Chemistry (WIC) professional development committee for aiding in enabling my attendance at the NaNaX8 conference in July, 2017. Nanoscience with Nanocrystals (NaNaX) is a biennial conference which focuses on light emitting and catalytic colloidal semiconductor and metallic nanoparticles. Topics ranged from synthesis of novel materials through theoretical research and modelling. My work very closely aligns with the topics presented in this conference, and many of the invited speakers laid the foundational work upon which my project builds.

I was able to attend many talks which helped me get a broader picture of what the field of colloidal nanoscience is pursuing and, in particular, which topics are active areas. Of particular interest to me were studies of various heterostructures of CdSe nanoplatelets, spectroscopic studies of perovskite nanomaterials, and investigation and modeling of controlling factors behind Auger recombination in nanomaterials.

I presented a poster on my current work investigating both biexciton and triexciton dynamics in CdSe/CdS core/shell spherical nanoparticles. This project is in the final stages before publication, and being able to present the work to many others in the field allowed me to confirm my methods and analysis hold up to careful scrutiny. Additionally, I was able to share an exciting new perspective on a decades old question as to the origin of triexciton emission.

Conversations with other members of the field during the two poster sessions as well as during breaks between presentation sessions allowed me to make extensive connections in the broader nanoscience field. This is of added importance to me since I am starting to consider my path after graduation, and many of the research groups represented at the conference are potential postdoctoral destinations for me. I was also able to make connections for future collaborations with other research groups, providing opportunities for my work to expand beyond the capabilities available in my research group alone.

Again I want to express my deepest thanks to WIC for giving me this opportunity, and I look forward to utilizing the knowledge and connections gained throughout the conference to further both my work at MIT as well as my career beyond MIT.

June 2017: Kathleen White, 13th International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems (F-π 13), Hong Kong

The WIC Professional Development Grant made it possible for me to attend the 13th International Symposium on Functional π-Electron Systems (F-π 13) in Hong Kong from June 5-9th, 2017. The conference was attended by researchers from all over the world who work with polymers, organic materials, and other π-conjugated systems. I presented a poster on my work toward the synthesis of 2D-conjugated polymers and received invaluable feedback and suggestions for future research directions from conference attendees. Having previously attended only large, general chemistry conferences (ACS annual meetings), attending a specialized international conference was a highly useful learning experience that enabled me to interact with a variety of researchers working directly in my area of interest. As an added perk, the conference was held at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which is beautifully situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean. HKUST also arranged an evening boat cruise of the Hong Kong harbor for conference attendees, a great way to experience the lights of the island city skyline at night. Overall, I had an awesome experience at the conference, and I greatly appreciate WIC’s generosity in helping to fund my attendance!

August 2016: Zhou Lin, 2016 Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry, Seattle WA.

It was a great honor to be supported by the Women in Chemistry (WIC) travel grant to attend the 2016 Theory and Applications of Computational Chemistry (TACC) that was held in Seattle, Washington. The quadrennial TACC conference highlights interdisciplinary topics in which cutting-edge computational chemistry theory is developed and applied. The speakers are world-famous scientists invited from all relevant fields of science and technology. Attending the speeches broadened my knowledge across different fields of computational chemistry so that I was able to jump out from my narrow field of quantum chemistry. In addition, I volunteered, along with two graduate students, to compose a “viewpoints” paper that will be published in a later issue of The Journal of Physical Chemistry A.

As a postdoctoral research associate studying electronic structure theory for organic semiconductors in MIT, I presented a poster about my research on the singlet fission mechanism in the polyacenes aggregates using density functional theory. I discussed two aspects of this project, the development of new density functionals that are appropriate for the polyacenes materials, and the applications of these functionals in the evaluation of their energy levels that are involved in the fission mechanism. I was impressed by the attention to my research from peer scientists. The discussions about my project are fruitful in terms of the theory behind density functional theory and singlet fission.

Besides the communications in science, I was able to make friends with other computational chemists, senior and junior, from all over the world. We shared our experience in academic and personal life, learned about the cultural difference from each other, and explored the downtown of Seattle together. This broad network is beyond the faculty position search and I believe I will benefit from it for the rest of my life.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank WIC again for this support, which has made my precious experience possible!

April 2016: Madeline Wong, Protein Homeostasis in Health & Disease, Cold Spring Harbor NY (awarded CEHS funds)

I would like to thank the WIC Travel Grant Program and the CEHS for allowing me to attend the recent Cold Spring Harbor Meeting on Protein Homeostasis in Health and Disease. The conference featured a broad range of talks, many of which helped me to learn more about the field and consider my project from different angles (for instance, I am actively exploring alternate methods for analyzing my data based on an approach presented at the meeting). I was also able to obtain constructive feedback at the poster session from both graduate students and faculty members. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the conference, though, was the daily faculty lunches. It was particularly inspiring to see conference organizers, keynote speakers, and senior faculty members invite graduate students and postdocs to discuss anything from research-related questions to advice about deciding when to publish or which projects to pursue. Having the opportunity not only to hear female faculty members present their research in the formal setting of the meeting, but also share informally about their career paths at these lunches, has renewed my interest in pursuing an academic career (as well as identified several labs to consider applying to for postdoctoral positions in a few years). I am very glad to have attended this meeting and look forward to seeing its impact on the rest of my time in graduate school. Thank you again!

April 2016: Qing Zhe Ni, Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference, Pittsburg PA

I would like to thank Women In Chemistry (WIC) travel committee for their financial support towards my attending the 57th Experimental Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Conference (ENC) in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The conference focused on researches being done using different methods of NMR: solution NMR, solid state NMR and Dynamic Nuclear Polarization in conjunction with NMR. Coming from a DNP/NMR group at MIT, it was exciting to see how the field has blossomed and to hear all the latest research that is being done from all around the world. Likewise, it was a wonderful opportunity to present my works on: Dynamic Nuclear Polarization Enhanced Solid-State NMR Investigations of Pharmaceutical Formulations. The poster sessions were extremely valuable; I was able to gain knowledge on different subject by conversing with others about their research in details as well as receiving suggestions and feedbacks about my own research.

At ENC, I was also awarded with the JinShan Research Excellence Award of OCMRS. I am both humbled and honored to receive this award. From the gathering, I met many other members of the OCMR community and build new friendships.

The conference also provided me with ample opportunities to meet different people, including senior scientists whom gave me some pointers in research and also in life. I met scientists whom I only knew their names on publications before this. It was a comfortable environment to seek out potential post doctorial positions. Overall, the conference was a wonderful experience. I thank the WIC travel grant for the support.

March 2016: Markrete Krikorian, ACS National Meeting, San Diego CA (awarded CEHS funds)

I had a very fulfilling experience at the conference, not only did I receive useful questions at the Q&A session of my talk, I also was able to speak with multiple ACS volunteers and people at the various career booths. I did two resume reviews and two mock interviews and greatly improved my resume and submitted it to two of the companies before I left the meeting. My sincerest thanks for CEHS for funding my travel to this conference. It was important for me to present my work on behalf of my lab and in order to show that we are moving towards understanding the environmental sensing mechanism of our lab’s compounds for better and better devices.

See older grant recipients here