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Congratulations to Kathleen Leamy of Gonzaga University, Winner of the 2019 Gordon Hammes Scholar Award

Kathleen Leamy will present the Gordon Hammes Scholar Award Lecture, and receive her award, during the ACS Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, CA. The Award Lectures will take place on Sunday, August 25, beginning at 1 P.M. in the Grand Ballroom, Section 5, of the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina.

The Reception, in the same room, will follow the final Lecture by Professor Daniel Kahne, recipient of the 2019 Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

The Gordon Hammes Scholar Award honors young scientists responsible for the very best papers published in Biochemistry. Established in 2017 and awarded alongside the Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award, the Scholar Award seeks to recognize those at the bench – graduate students, postdocs, and undergraduates – for the outstanding work they do.
The award is sponsored jointly by Biochemistry and the ACS Division of Biological Chemistry.

Kathleen Leamy was selected as the 2019 winner based on her 2018 article, “Molecular Mechanism for Folding Cooperativity of Functional RNAs in Living Organisms,” co-authored with Neela H. Yennawar and Dr. Philip Bevilacqua.

Leamy grew up in New York State and received her bachelor’s degree from Siena College, with majors in chemistry and biochemistry.  While at Siena College she studied natural product antibiotics and porphyrin thin films sensors, conducting research with Dr. Daniel Moriarty and Dr. Jodi O’Donnell.

Kathleen completed her doctoral degree at The Pennsylvania State University under the direction of Dr. Philip Bevilacqua, studying the folding and adaptation of functional RNAs. She is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Gonzaga University.

Read a Brief Interview with Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award Winner Kathleen Leamy

Why did you choose to pursue this field of research?

I have always had a passion for learning and being challenged. Chemistry and biology are the two subjects that captured my attention in high school and began to really excite me in college. I knew that I wanted to graduate school and pursue research in biochemistry, which melded my two favorite subjects. I became passionate about the RNA field after joining Philip Bevilacqua’s research group at Penn State when I realized that this simple biopolymer had such diverse functions.

What are you working on now?

My current research focuses on elucidating the mechanism of functional RNA adaptation to extreme environments. Life has evolved to exist in extreme temperatures and pressures, and biomolecules need to evolve to remain folded and functional at those temperatures. My group is using a combination of computational and bench methods to elucidate the mode of RNA adaptation and to assess the function of thermophilic RNAs.

What is important in training the next generation of researchers?

I think the best research is done by pursuing the ideas that keep you up at night. I want to keep working on the questions that I think about before bed and wake up in the middle of the night with ideas on. I hope that the direction my research takes is ever-changing as I have new ideas and questions.

Explore some of Kathleen Leamy’s research, published in Biochemistry

Find out about the winner of the 2019 Gordon Hammes Lectureship Award, Daniel Kahne

Read about previous winners of the Gordon Hammes Scholar Award:

 

 

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