From biochemistry to graduate research at Stanford
Emily Harcourt ’09, Graduate Student
Summer Research Internship: Hamilton Lab
Graduate Program: Department of Chemistry, Stanford University
As a member of Professor Eric Kool's research group at Stanford University, I have had several different projects involving various aspects of nucleic acids chemistry. Currently, I am working on the development of a treatment to improve the recovery of RNA from formalin-preserved samples, something that has previously been a challenging and unreliable task.
We are trying to approach this problem through a chemical understanding of how formaldehyde reacts with RNA, and how we might promote the reverse reaction while leaving the RNA itself intact.
The background that I obtained with my biochemistry major and chemistry research at Mount Holyoke has enabled my success at Stanford. Having already done research at Mount Holyoke, I was prepared to read scientific literature, think critically, and work independently.
Being a mentor in (Peer-Led Undergraduate Mentoring System (PLUMS) also helped me tremendously to be more effective and confident as a teaching assistant for undergraduate students. In addition, the things that I learned in organic chemistry and biochemistry classes are relevant to the work I do now - I often pull out my biochemistry notes as a starting point when I'm trying to understand the chemistry of some biological process. In my current research, I use a mixture of chemical and biochemical techniques, from setting up reactions to running gels to isolate RNA. My experience as a biochemistry major who worked in a chemistry lab at Mount Holyoke has enabled me to work comfortably with different techniques and across disciplines.
- Identification of a Selective Polymerase Enables Detection of N6-Methyladenosine in RNA. Emily M. Harcourt, Thomas Ehrenschwender, Pedro J. Batista, Howard Y. Chang, and Eric T. Kool. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2013, 135 (51), pp 19079–19082. Publication Date (Web): December 11, 2013
- Microwave-Assisted Synthesis of Cyclopentadienyl–Cobalt Sandwich Complexes from Diaryl Acetylenes. Emily M. Harcourt, Shifra R. Yonis, Daniel E. Lynch and Darren G. Hamilton. Organometallics, 2008, 27 (7), pp 1653–1656. Publication Date Web): March 5, 2008