Athens, OH 27 August 2016 –
I spent my summer doing research in the chemistry department at the University of Leipzig. For eleven weeks, I worked on a project under a PhD student which involved solid-state peptide synthesis and a novel reversible PEGylation approach.
Peptides have the potential to act as potent therapeutics, but this is often limited by their breakdown in the body. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be added to prevent this elimination, but it also impairs the peptide’s ability to function—thus, we worked on an approach which would allow PEG to be reversibly linked to the peptide so that its release could be controlled.
I don’t have a background in chemistry research, so this summer marked a lot of firsts for me. I was able to gain hands-on experience working with methods which I had learned about in the classroom, like liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, I gained experiences outside of the lab which made my summer unforgettable.
Although I spent most of my weekends exploring the city with a group of international students that I met through a fellow Bobcat in Leipzig, I did have a few experiences with travelling.
In high school, I participated in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), through which I spent a month living with a host family in Munich. This summer I was able to visit my high school exchange student, Clara, at her university in Rothenburg.
We spent the weekend exploring the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town, and catching up since it had been 5 years since we had last seen each other.
I was also able to travel to Amsterdam with my Finnish friend, Ella, for another weekend trip. The eight-hour bus rides there and back were almost unbearable, but the time we spent in the city made it more than worth the trip.
From a canal tour (above) to an ice bar (below); from the Anne Frank House to a museum of the Red Light District, we packed as much of Amsterdam as we could into our short visit. I fell in love with the city.
My experiences in Europe would not have been possible without the financial support of the Cutler Scholars Program. I am grateful every day to have been the recipient of such incredible generosity.