Kate Alfieri '10
Kate Alfieri '10 to Present at Scientific Conference
A chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry, Alfieri has worked with her thesis advisor, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Casey Londergan, to develop an infrared probe that will characterize the interactions between antimicrobial peptides and bacterial membranes. “Antimicrobial peptides play a role in the immune response of a variety of species by disrupting microbial membranes and ultimately killing invading pathogens,” she says. “One of the goals of my project is to try to figure out how this process is happening by using a cyanylated cysteine infrared probe attached to the peptide.” This probe, she explains, can help determine which parts the peptide are in contact with the membrane.
Alfieri will travel to the Biophysical Society conference with Londergan and fellow seniors Heather McMahon and Connor Bischak, who also work in Londergan’s lab. She is looking forward to participating in an event that draws scientists from all over the world. “The meeting will give me an opportunity to present my own work and receive feedback from others in the field,” she says. “I’m especially excited to hear Dr. Roger Tsien, winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry, speak.”
After graduating, Alfieri plans to pursue a Ph.D. in either chemistry or a combination of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. “Wherever I end up, I hope to continue doing biophysical chemistry research, which I have gotten a taste for through my research at Haverford,” she says.