Research Story

Lacie Smith

Lacie Smith

Graduated May 2006, | Major: Chemistry and Biochemistry

UNCW graduate student ('08)

"I have recently completed my Departmental Honors project with Dr. Sridhar Varadarajan in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. My project involved the making and testing of novel potential quorum sensing molecules. Bacteria use these quorum sensing molecules to communicate with one another. Our goal is to understand how to use these signaling molecules to interfere with bacterial communication and thus fight bacterial diseases. I have made 5 compounds thus far, which are currently being tested, and I will continue to work on this project in Spring 2006 as a DIS student. It would be really exciting to find out if these molecules that I make actually end up interfering with bacterial communication. I have really enjoyed doing this research, and working in the lab to get real hands-on experience. In the spring of 2006 I received an undergraduate research fellowship award from UNCW for $1,000. I also received a Summer Undergraduate Research scholarship from GlaxoSmithKline for $5,000 - $4,000 of which went towards a summer stipend for me to work in the lab here at UNCW, and $1,000 paid for my research supplies and chemicals. I am very grateful to both UNCW and GSK for this financial support. This research experience has, without a doubt, opened by eyes and my heart to new career possibilities. I would like to give my appreciation to everyone in lab for their guidance and support when I needed it. My deepest thoughts and thanks go out to my mentor Dr. Sridhar Varadarajan, whose help and guidance could not have been more cherished."