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Soller wins Eli Lilly/WCC Travel Award

Kailey Soller, a fourth-year graduate student co-advised by Professors Michael Bowser and Gianluigi Veglia, is one of 10 recipients nationally of the Eli Lilly/Women Chemists Committee (WCC) Travel Award. This highly-competitive award provides funding for female undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral fellows to travel to a national meeting and present their research.

Kailey is interested in biophysics. She graduated from Bethel University with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry. She also worked for a year as a research associate in the protein purification department at R&D Systems.

She has been working with her advisers on a project involving the interactions between single-stranded deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and phospholamban, which is a cardiac regulatory protein. They have named a unexpected discovery that chemically-modified, single-strand DNAs (ssDNAs) have the potential for use in drug therapies to improved cardiac contractility by targeting calcium-handling proteins. This work, “Rheostatic Regulation of the SERCA/Phospholamban Membrane Protein Complex Using Non-Coding RNA and Single-Stranded DNA Oligonucleotides,” was recently published in Nature’s Scientific Reports (doi:10.1038/srep13000).

She presented a poster on this research at the ACS National Meeting in Boston, and submitted an abstract about it to the WCC for consideration of the travel award.

In addition to her research, Kailey is an active graduate student in the Department of Chemistry. She spent a year working with a team of other students to organize a graduate student symposium at the ACS National Meeting in Boston. This team recruited a slate of 10 scientists, 9 from academia and 1 from industry, to highlight examples of academia using commercialization as a mechanism to bring the rewards of research to the world. Kailey also helps with the chemistry Women in Science & Engineering (WISE) group that organizes an annual day of experiments and demonstrations for middle school girls.

The WCC serves the membership of the American Chemical Society. Its mission is to be leaders in attracting, developing, promoting, and advocating for women in the chemical sciences in order to positively impact society and the profession.