Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri
Thesis: Phosphorylation dynamics during epithelial cell division
Zachary Lee loved science growing up, but becoming a scientist seemed as far-fetched to him as playing professional football or being an astronaut. By the time he started undergraduate studies at Rockhurst University, however, what had once seemed out of reach started to become a real possibility.
Last spring Lee reached an important milestone on his way to full-fledged scientist when he received his BA in biochemistry at Rockhurst, where he worked as a teaching assistant. To launch his career with more than a piece of paper, Lee in 2011 participated in the National Science Foundation-funded BioREU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) summer program at Johns Hopkins University, where he analyzed mitochondrial proteins in Dr. Blake Hill’s lab.
The following summer, Lee, who grew up in Gardner, Kansas, sent Stowers Proteomics Center Director Michael Washburn an e-mail asking if he could work in Washburn’s lab. That inquiry landed him a berth in the 2012 Stowers Summer Scholars program, where he worked in the Washburn lab analyzing proteins that interact with the NFκBfamily of transcription factors.
Lee’s Stowers experience with state-of-the-art proteomic technologies like MudPIT mass spectrometry and fluorescence microscopy motivated him to apply to the Stowers graduate program. As a first year student, Lee hopes to apply advanced proteomic analysis to fields like transcription. But he still has happy memories of his teaching experience at Rockhurst and anticipates a career that will include research and teaching.