Combining my interest in many fields to conduct innovative research

Crystal Nguyen

Crystal Nguyen

Crystal Nguyen ’05

Postdoctoral scholar, University of California, San Diego

Academic focus: chemistry major

Research group: Gomez Lab

I am currently a researcher at UCSD focusing on making the process of early drug discovery become more efficient and more effective by providing accurate and improved computational tools. I use information that is obtained from molecular dynamics simulation to gain insights into the protein’s hydration properties which are crucial to the drug design and drug finding process.

Imagine you can save time and resource by skipping a high throughput screen of millions of compounds to find a potential drug candidate and only need to test out a handful of compounds due to the efficient filter that can be done virtually on your own computer. 

This work overlaps with many areas and requires the expertise from a variety of fields such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science. Without being equipped with these technical skills from my undergraduate study, I would not be where I am today. Mount Holyoke College has given me the flexibility to explore different possibilities in different fields of study without losing track.

What makes Mount Holyoke so special is its attitude toward preparing undergraduate students for their next step, whether it is attending graduate school or going to the real world job. Most professors are active with research and always welcome their students to join their lab allowing them to gain real research experience. I think this is a true advantage not only for those who go on to attend graduate school but also for those who want to explore the research setting.

For me it was a blessing to have a head start and be familiar with research techniques in graduate school. Not only the knowledge I gained, but the people I met at Mount Holyoke including my advisor had been supportive and helped me at every step along my career.