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Student Highlights: Julia Alvey (NHS '22)

Julia Alvey is a junior in the School of Nursing and Health Studies. She is majoring in Human Science and minoring in Chemistry, and on the pre-med track. 

Involvement with Research

Alvey learned fundamental research skills in her Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology of Health and Disease. She had the opportunity to practiced important techniques such as pipetting, running gels, and observing cells. Introducing her to different techniques in biochemistry, this course inspired Alvey to explore methodological approaches to research in the field of biochemistry. This soon became her niche. 

Alvey began her journey into formal research on Twitter. While on the website, she noticed that Dr. Esther Braselmann tweeted about starting a new position as an assistant professor of biochemistry at Georgetown. She promptly read through Dr. Braselmann’s Twitter and even a few of her papers before reaching out to Braselmann. Now, the two work together, and Alvey is completing her honors thesis under the supervision of Baselmann in the chemistry department. The project Alvey is working on explores platforms that use fluorescent proteins in order to observe RNA in cells. She is using fluorescence in situ hybridization and fluorescence lifetime imaging to create a procedure to detect and locate where distinct RNAs congregate in a cell’s stress granules. The broader goal of the project is to add to molecular chemistry’s understanding of disease while also further establishing applications of Riboglow in fluorescent imaging of cells. 

Reflection

Her Instagram bio says it all: “photographer, pug lover, chem nerd.” Alvey integrates her love of chemistry and science into many aspects of her life. This past August, she even had a chemistry-themed birthday. Alvey's enthusiasm for chemistry drives her pursuit of scientific knowledge. To Alvey, working in Braselmann's lab has been an eye-opening experience, allowing her to dive into science. Braselmann has been an important influence in Alvey’s young career. When talking about her mentor, Alvey expresses gratitude for the individualized attention she receives and their discussions about chemistry projects, literature reviews, and other aspects of research. 

Written by Alanna Cronk