Zhuo Chen (陈茁) Bioconjugates Her Way to the ACS in DC

Zhuo Chen (陈茁) had a very productive summer indeed! Having just published a second time in the journal Small with the brilliant Qin group here at UT Dallas, she moved fast to wrap up a manuscript, which just appeared in the journal Bioconjugate Chemistry, entitled “Fluorescent Functionalization Across Quaternary Structure in a Virus-Like Particle.” In it, she demonstrated the considerable substrate scope of the Haddleton-Baker reaction* on the virus-like particle (VLP) Qβ (Qbeta). Not only that, she showed the resulting particle was brigly fluorescent and could be monitored in cells. We also discuss some of the problems with this in vitro monitoring and ways to turn these problems into opportunities.

THEN she won an award to present her work from the Fall 2017 Graduate Student Symposium Planning Committee, funded by Bioconjugate Chemistry, at the ACS National Meeting in Washington DC! Keep an eye out for her interview, which will appear in Bioconjugate Chemistry.

*That may not be a named reaction, though it should be, and we are going to start using it in subsequent papers.

Candace gets a NSF Graduate Fellowship

Super scientist and PhD student Candace Benjamin has received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research
Fellowship Program (GRFP). The GRFP provides three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution). That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master’s or doctoral degree in S&E. That means Candace, who is currently a second year, will not graduate for another five years. (hehehehehehe)

The Group Gets an NSF CAREER Award

The Gassensmith Chemical Virology Group received an NSF CAREER award for its work on modifying viral capsids using novel bioconjugation methods. It is largely based upon the hard work of graduate student Zhuo Chen, who’s seminal paper in Small and her 2016 review in WIRES Nanomedicine and Nanobiotechnology set the tone for the proposal. Substantial preliminary work was also conducted by Candace Benjamin. Their efforts were aided, in no small part, by the six other members of the Gassensmith lab including former postdoc Na Li, who has since moved on to a career in industry. Jeremiah primarily sits in his office answering the phone when it rings and keeping his Twitter up to date, so he takes and deserves less credit than the aforementioned rockstars who should feel free to take a day this month off to celebrate. (just kidding… kind of.)