Steenberge '15 Honored by American Chemical Society

Laura Steenberge '15

April 8, 2015

The Illinois Heartland Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS) has named Illinois Wesleyan University chemistry major Laura Steenberge ’15 a 2015 Collegiate Scholar. Steenberge was honored at the section’s award banquet on April 7.

As a part of the world’s largest scientific society, the Illinois Heartland ACS consists of a network of 240 chemists, chemical engineers and educators and connects chemistry to the community.

A native of Ballwin, Missouri, Steenberge has been conducting research at Illinois Wesleyan for the past three years. “I research under the direction of [Associate Professor of Chemistry] Brian Brennan,” said Steenberge. “Our group works to identify novel peptidic ligands for sickle cell hemoglobin that might have effects on the polymerization of the protein.”

This past summer, Steenberge participated in a Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she studied the genetics of aging using C. elegans (non-parasitic roundworms) as a model organism.

In the summer of 2013, Steenberge participated in the Research Internships in Science and Engineering program at the Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität in Münster, Germany. “There, I did pharmaceutical chemistry research and synthesized possible antibacterial agents,” she said.

After graduation, Steenberge plans to attend a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Funded by the National Institutes of Health, an MSTP is a highly competitive program for students who seek a combined M.D.-Ph.D. degree. “I eventually want to go into academic medicine and have a career that combines research, seeing patients, and teaching,” Steenberge said.

On campus, Steenberge has held leadership positions with the Alpha Gamma Delta Women’s fraternity and Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity. Within the chemistry department, Steenberge has served as a teaching assistant and a member of Chemistry Club.

By Tia Patsavas ’16