Katie Poetz

After graduating in 2010 from Lewis University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry, Katie Poetz continued to pursue her goal of becoming a research professor at a university, or a researcher at a pharmaceutical company. Now a resident of Potsdam, NY, she is a fourth year graduate student pursuing a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry in the research lab of Professor Devon Shipp at Clarkson University.

“My thesis work is focused on developing novel biomaterials, in particular surface-eroding polyanhydrides and polymer-peptide conjugates. Polyanhydrides and polymer-peptide conjugates have potential for delivery of therapeutics and tissue engineering,” Katie says. 

Recently, Katie was awarded a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute fellowship to study at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia under the guidance of Professor Sebastien Perrier. The prestigious award allows Katie to spend eight weeks investigating the conjugation efficiency between various peptides and polymers for drug delivery and tissue engineering applications – or in layman’s terms, “Peptides are comprised of amino acids in a specific sequence, and based on this sequence the peptides have the ability to arrange into fibers or penetrate cellular membranes. Polymers can be introduced in order to add functionality the peptides do not possess.”

Katie has been able to attend three conferences across the world and give presentations at each, providing her astounding educational opportunities: the International Conference of Young Chemists, that was held in Amman, Jordan, the IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry) MACRO World Polymer Congress held at Virginia Tech, and the American Chemical Society spring meeting in Dallas, Texas.

Katie fondly remembers the professors who started her on the path to her Ph.D. “The professors in the Chemistry Department at Lewis were extremely supportive and very encouraging,” Katie says. “The small class sizes allowed for me to get know my professors and my professors get to know me. Dr. Wendy Burns and  rother Pierre St. Raymond, FSC, were role models for introducing me to chemistry and providing support throughout my career. I am so grateful for Dr. Jason Keleher, as my first research experiences were in his lab. He has helped me tremendously in getting to where I am today.”

Katie is just beginning her career, yet she follows the same advice she’d give to others: “Always work hard and you will learn something from every experience you encounter. Remember, nothing is impossible.”

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