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Kristen Irons

Kristen is a rising fourth-year student at the University of Virginia (UVA).  She will graduate this December with an ACS-Approved B.Sc. in Chemistry.

Last summer, she worked at a wastewater treatment plant in Rocky Mount, Virginia to perform regular tests on samples throughout the treatment process. Last fall, she worked in Dr. Lehmann’s lab at UVA to assist a researcher in studying the vibrational overtone spectrum of methane and its isotopic forms with double resonance spectroscopy.  She has gained interests in analytical chemistry and astrochemistry from projects that she has performed in her laboratory courses at UVA. These projects involved analyzing vanilla samples with HPLC-MS and identifying interstellar molecules with radio telescope databases.

This summer, she is working in Dr. Kyoung’s lab at UMBC.  Kristen will develop a set of molecular tools that will be useful in evaluating technologies that detect protein-protein interactions.  She will engineer various pairs of FRB and FKBP proteins that will have a range of binding affinities upon additions of rapamycin. She will modulate the binding sites of FRB and FKBP using site-directed point mutagenesis. The range of binding affinities will be validated by fluorescence resonance energy transfer.

She is passionate about research and hopes to conduct research in graduate school next fall. In her free time, she enjoys reading, painting, and bicycling.