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Department ofChemistry and Biochemistry


NSF Recognizes Dr. Grace Stokes with CAREER Award

Grace Stokes, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, is the recipient of the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early-Career Development CAREER Award.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Apr. 03, 2019—Grace Stokes, Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Santa Clara University, has received the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Faculty Early-Career Development CAREER Award in the division of chemistry for her project “Quantifying How Peptoids Interact with Lipid Membranes.”

The award supports early-career faculty who have demonstrated the potential to be academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.

As part of this award, Stokes’ undergraduate research lab will receive $475,000 over the next five years to conduct research that seeks to quantify interactions between potentially therapeutic molecules called peptoids, and membrane proteins in model cell membranes. The research will use new technologies that will allow students to incorporate proteins into the artificial membranes they currently work with, said Stokes.

The award will not only benefit Stokes and the students working in her lab at SCU, it has the potential to significantly positively impact the larger scientific community as a whole.

“A detailed, molecular understanding of interactions between peptoids and cell membranes is not currently available,” said Stokes, who was also named a Cottrell Scholar by the Research Corporation for Scientific Advancement in 2018. “My research will allow other researchers to design more effective new drugs, which may have less severe side effects than drugs that are currently available on the market.”

Her goals also include developing computer-based learning modules that incorporate data collected in her research lab, and will be used to teach chemistry courses at SCU. She plans to share these modules with faculty at nearby universities and help determine best practices for achieving learning objectives and increasing success of underrepresented minority students in quantitative science courses.

“Dr. Stokes has worked hard to build a nationally recognized research program that centers around SCU students, with multiple undergraduates appearing with her as co-authors on scientific papers,” said Eric Tillman, SCU chair and Fletcher Jones Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “This funding will directly support SCU student researchers for years to come, and her colleagues and I could not be happier to celebrate this accomplishment with her.”

Learn more about Stokes on her SCU website.


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