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  • Writer's picturejalemkul

Lab Update: Summer 2021

An update on the goings-on of the lab is long overdue, partly due to the pandemic, and partly due to the simple fact that we've been extremely busy so it is hard to find time to provide a recap!

Despite the challenges and anxiety we have felt since early 2020, there is much to celebrate and I think it is important to do that, even in light of an ongoing human health crisis. The members of the lab have demonstrated incredible resilience and continue to pursue their missions of education and research.

New Faces

Since the last update, we have welcomed several new lab members! Julia Montgomery joined us in December 2019. Since then, Julia has been exploring a new project related to properties of small molecules and proteins in heterogeneous environments, namely phospholipid bilayers. Julia was recently awarded a fellowship as part of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Congratulations, Julia!

Fall and Winter of 2020 were also busy times for the lab, as we were joined by two new Ph.D. students, Haley Michel and Laura Gil Pineda. Haley will continue working on our G-quadruplex project and take things in some new and exciting directions. Laura will work on amyloidogenic proteins/peptides and the role of post-translational modifications on their properties.

Dr. Marcelo Polêto joined us as a postdoctoral associate in December 2020. He has brought new experience in enhanced sampling and is pursuing some exciting new directions in each of the lab's main emphasis areas.


Spring of 2021 was a busy time for our lab members who completed their degrees.

Undergrad Tanner Dean completed his B.S. in Biochemistry and is now headed off to the Biophysics Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign.

Alex Corrigan and Brian Ratnasinghe defended their M.S. theses and are now off to new and exciting things. Alex will be joining ChemTreat as a STEM iDEAS Associate and Brian is off to the Medical College of Wisconsin as a bioinformatician.

Alexa Salsbury became the lab's first Ph.D. graduate, defending her dissertation in April. Alexa has moved on to a position as a Data Scientist and Outreach Coordinator at NCBI.

Good luck and best wishes to all of our graduates! I am deeply grateful for all your contributions over the years. Brian and Alexa were founding members of the Lemkul Lab and built some of our core projects from the ground up. I will miss you all, but please come back and visit!

Summer Research

We have been busy this summer, working on a project graciously funded by the Jeffress Trust. We have welcomed five undergraduate researchers this summer - Bekah, Emily, Nathan, Sam, and Jason - who have been working on new simulations of G-quadruplexes. They will be presenting their work soon at the VT summer undergraduate research symposium and we are eager to share their outcomes with the world soon!

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