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KU announces new Beckman Scholars

Thursday, April 07, 2016

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Beckman Scholars Program announces the selection of the Beckman Scholars for 2016: Kathryn Brewer, a junior from Overland Park majoring in chemistry, and Collin Clay, a sophomore from Edmond, Oklahoma, majoring in chemistry, will take part in a 15-month program designed to enrich their development as students and scientists through innovative research, mentoring, collaboration and practice in effective communication. The program offers students a unique opportunity to become immersed in the scientific community.

Funded by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Beckman Scholars Program is led by Co-Directors David Benson, associate professor of chemistry, and Lynn Hancock, associate professor of molecular biosciences, along with Grant Principal Investigator Susan Egan, professor and chair, Department of Molecular Biosciences, and Co-Principal Investigator Brian Laird, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry.

About the awardees:

Kathryn Brewer is from Overland Park, where she attended Blue Valley West High School. She is majoring in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. Brewer’s interest in research focuses on understanding diseases, and she will begin her research project under Audrey Lamb, professor of molecular biosciences. The project involves selecting a siderophore biosynthetic enzyme and clone for overexpression in E. coli, developing an overproduction and purification scheme for the enzyme, and developing and optimizing a crystallization method for the enzyme. Enzymatic activity assays and steady state analyses will then be done on the protein.

Brewer plans to pursue graduate studies in pharmaceutical chemistry or biochemistry.

“I am very excited that Kathryn has been selected to be a Beckman Scholar to continue her research in my lab,” Lamb said. “Kathryn is a dedicated and thoughtful scientist with a goal of pursuing a research career at the interface of chemistry and biology.  Kathryn will be studying how the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa gets iron from its human host in order to survive and cause disease.”

Collin Clay grew up in Edmond, Oklahoma, and attended Edmond High School. Clay began his undergraduate research work in the lab of Robert Ward in the Department of Molecular Biosciences. After switching to his major to chemistry, he joined 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 Dermot Diamond at DCU. Beginning in June of 2016, Collin will join the laboratory of Paul Hanson, professor of chemistry.  His project will be aimed at the development of small molecule probes capable of modulating regulatory enzymes involved in important biochemical pathways. 

“We are enthusiastic that Collin has been selected to be a Beckman Scholar to broaden his research experiences further in our laboratory,” Hanson said. "Collin has already carried out research in several fundamentally different areas of science that will undoubtedly enable his project in our group as well as benefit his research career moving forward."  

Each Beckman Scholar receives a total of $21,000 via stipend and travel and supply funds over the course of the program. Additionally, the scholars’ mentors each receive $5,000.

For more information, please visit the Beckman Scholars Program website http://beckman.ku.edu/and direct questions to beckmanscholars@ku.edu.


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