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Limbach Wins Student Poster Award

Miranda Limbach, third year PhD student, recently earned an Outstanding Student Poster award at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS). Limbach’s poster, entitled “Atomic View of Aqueous Cyclosporine A: Unpacking a Decades-Old Mystery,” was one of eight student posters in the division of physical chemistry to be honored at the meeting. 

“This was my first time at the ACS Conference,” said Limbach. “Presenting the poster was lots of fun. Everyone who stopped seemed really interested and the judges were anonymous so you didn’t know who was or wasn’t a judge.”

Limbach’s presentation and poster were based on a collaborative effort between the department, the neutron scattering division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and the University of Vanderbilt. 

Limbach’s work investigates cyclosporine A, a macrocyclic immunosuppressant. Macrocycles are a class of molecules with the ability to permeate the cell membrane and bind to a number of target proteins. Macrocycles have important applications in the pharmaceutical industry and can contribute to both the development of new drugs, including antibiotics, and the successful delivery of those drugs in the human body.

Earlier in 2022, this work was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, with a number of UT Chemistry co-authors, including graduate students Aleksandra Antevska, Damilola Oluwatob, and Amber Gray, Assistant Professor Thanh Do, and Director of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Core Facilities Carlos Steren.

Limbach credits her experience in the Department of Chemistry and time in Thanh Do’s research group with preparing her for a successful presentation.

“The nice thing about Dr. Do’s lab is we use a lot of techniques so we get to learn a little bit of everything,” said Limbach. “I’ve been learning a little bit of mass spectrometry and x-ray diffraction and I learned a lot about 2D NMR. The department has been great. Everyone’s really open to making sure you learn everything you need.”

Limbach plans to continue exploring the significance of cyclosporine analogues during her academic career and, after graduation, is considering a future working with NMR facilities or industry.