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Grad Student Wins Novartis Fellowship

Ji Qi (GRS’06,’11) received this year’s Novartis Fellowship to fund her Ph.D. work in organic chemistry.

Ji Qi (GRS’06,’11), a graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in chemistry, has been awarded a 2006-2007 Novartis Fellowship in Organic Chemistry for Women and Minorities. The one-year fellowship is sponsored by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). The award will support Qi’s efforts to synthesize important natural anticancer products called polyprenylated phloroglucinols. Qi works in the lab of John Porco, a College of Arts and Sciences professor of chemistry and director of the Center for Chemical Methodology and Library Development.

Porco says that Qi’s studies may help pave the way for the identification of novel anticancer and antitumor agents. “Ji Qi is a very intelligent, motivated, and team-oriented individual with great promise as a scientist and organic chemist,” he says. “She has made a number of independent advances at an early stage in her graduate studies, which clearly distinguished her as a top candidate for this fellowship.”

Qi says her work on the  synthesis of natural products and derivatives is an “exciting research area” for synthetic chemists, and she plans to continue this research when she has completed the fellowship.

“This natural product family has shown a variety of interesting biological activities, like antitumor activity,” she says. “I hope our research work will have some impact in complex molecule syntheses and antitumor drug discovery.”