Women in Science news
The recent talk by Columbia University's Professor Ann McDermott was an opportunity to hear not only about her outstanding research but also her experiences as a woman in science.
Professor McDermott's talk on 'Activation and inactivation of a potassium channel' was part of the OUBS seminar series.
Her research uses cutting-edge magnetic resonance methods to study the structure, function and conformational dynamics of proteins in native-like environments. These include membrane proteins in native lipid bilayers and protein assemblies like viral coats.
A recipient of numerous awards, Professor McDermott is Esther Breslow Professor of Biological Chemistry at Columbia University. She is an elected member of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.
She recently served as Associate Vice President for Academic Advising and Science Initiatives in the Arts and Sciences at Columbia University and is currently Chair of the Department of Chemistry where she teaches on graduate and undergraduate chemistry programs.
Professor Ann McDermott
In a discussion group that she kindly agreed to participate in after the talk, Professor McDermott spoke about her experiences as a woman in a male-dominated scientific discipline. She discussed her career path with researchers from the Biochemistry department and other departments, highlighting how she had overcome barriers.
Participants agreed that the discussion was worthwhile, and it was clear from sharing of experiences that more work still needs to be done to counter prejudice against women. The Athena Swan initiative has helped to create an environment in which such open discussions about the opportunities and challenges facing women in science are possible and encouraged.
The department is proud of the recent success of three female graduate students in a field that is sometimes seen as male-dominated - computational research. Amanda Buyan, Jemma Trick and Nathalie Willems, students in the lab of Professor Mark Sansom, will be talking at the 2014 International Biophysical Congress in Brisbane in August (http://www.iupab2014.org/).
The students recently gave their presentations (1-3) to members of the department In advance of the conference.
1. Interactions of Dok7 with anionic lipid bilayers studied by multiscale MD simulation. Amanda Buyan, Antreas C. Kalli & Mark S.P. Sansom
2. Designing hydrophobic gates into biomimetic nanopores. Jemma L. Trick, Jayne Wallace, Hagan Bayley & Mark S.P. Sansom.
3. Lipase enzyme interactions with lipid membranes. Nathalie Willems & Mark Sansom.