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ChEM-H students named O’Leary-Thiry Graduate Fellows and Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows

Stanford ChEM-H has named 11 incoming students O’Leary-Thiry Graduate Fellows and two current students Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellows to pursue research at the CBI.

Thanks to a generous gift from alumni Denise O’Leary, ’79, and Kent Thiry, ’78, 11 incoming graduate students have been named Stanford ChEM-H O’Leary-Thiry Graduate Fellows. They comprise the sixth cohort of trainees in the Stanford ChEM-H Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program, which supports students pursuing research in human health bridging the fields of chemistry, engineering, and medicine.

Photo of the CBI retreat
The Stanford ChEM-H O’Leary-Thiry Graduate Fellows will join the existing Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Training Program fellows, pictured here at a June 2019 retreat.

Students in this newest class of CBI trainees come from three schools and seven departments: the School of Humanities and Sciences (biology, chemistry), School of Engineering (bioengineering, chemical engineering), and School of Medicine (biochemistry, biophysics, and chemical and systems biology). Two are also enrolled in Stanford’s Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), which prepares students for biomedical careers. The 11 fellows come from eight states and are graduates of Bates College, Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rice University, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, University of California at Berkeley, and the University of Michigan.

ChEM-H has also recognized two graduate student fellows through the Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship (SIGF) Program, a university-wide program that awards fellowships to students pursuing interdisciplinary research. The 2019 SIGF Affiliated with ChEM-H Fellows are Daniel Mokhtari, the Xu Family Foundation Fellow, and Weijiang Zhou, the Gold Family Graduate Fellow.

Mokhtari, a graduate student in biochemistry and a medical student through MSTP, works in the labs of Stanford ChEM-H Institute Scholar Polly Fordyce, assistant professor of genetics and of bioengineering, and Faculty Fellow Daniel Herschlag, professor of biochemistry. He is developing a platform to quantify how well enzymes with small structural differences work. His findings could lead to better predictions about how different mutations affect enzyme function.

Zhou, a graduate student in biophysics, works in the lab of Stanford ChEM-H Faculty Fellow Wah Chiu, professor of photon science, of bioengineering, and of microbiology and immunology. He will be co-advised by Chaitan Khosla, the Baker Family Co-Director of Stanford ChEM-H. Zhou is improving ways to prepare and analyze samples by cryo-electron microscopy, a tool that reveals in great detail the 3-D structure of molecules.

The new Thiry-O’Leary and SIGF fellows join 45 current CBI students in cross-disciplinary training opportunities that include monthly seminars, career development activities, and an annual research retreat.

Read more about Denise O’Leary, ’79, and Kent Thiry, ’78.

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