Vertex Continues Support of BUWIC Programs

Vertex_LogoFor the second year in a row, Vertex Pharmaceuticals has continued its support of Chemistry’s student organization, Boston University Women in Chemistry (BUWIC).   Vertex’s 2013-2014 support will help facilitate professional development opportunities for BUWIC members and advance chemistry education for young women.  BUWIC will use the funds to provide 10 conference registration fellowships, pay for seminar expenses associated with outside speakers, and advance chemistry training by bringing three high school students to experience hands-on research in BU Chemistry laboratories.

There were 15 applications from high school students for the summer research opportunity.  Of these three were selected:

  • Trizzi Lam, a rising high school Senior at the Pioneer Charter School of Science in Everett, MA, is working in Prof. Adrian Whitty’s lab with 2nd-year graduate student, Jennifer Chow, on protein-protein interactions, which are important in understanding signaling pathways and in the discovery of new drug molecules.
  • Eden Merdasa, a rising high school Senior at Brighton High School in Brighton, MA, is working alongside first year graduate student Long Nguyen in Prof. Aaron Beeler’s lab.  The research in this lab focuses on medicinal chemistry, specifically those areas pertaining to small molecule discovery, Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and cystic fibrosis.
  • Kimberly Zaldana, a rising high school Junior, also at the Pioneer Charter School of Science,  is working in Prof. Sean Elliott’s lab with 2nd-year graduate student, Bin Li,  on researching electron transfer chemistry and the functions of enzymes and proteins.

BUWIC, formed in 2005 by female graduate students in the Department, has provided its members with industry career seminars, educational workshops, networking opportunities, and with speakers from both ‘traditional’ scientific career paths (pharmaceutical industry, academia, national laboratories), as well as ‘non-traditional’ paths (science journalism, patent law, contract research).  While membership is inclusive, the organization focuses on issues of particular relevance to women training for and seeking scientific careers that build on their training in Chemistry.  In 2010, BUWIC initiated outreach activities to local area schools  in support of chemistry education through volunteers who teach labs, lead chemistry demonstrations, tutor, and assist teachers.