Baylor doctoral chemistry student recognized by the National Science Foundation for her research

April 25, 2022

April 25, 2022

By Randy Fiedler, Director of Marketing and Communications, College of Arts & Sciences, Baylor University

Jessica Conforti, a doctoral student in analytical chemistry at Baylor University, has received an honorable mention award from the National Science Foundation in its latest Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP “helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States” by identifying and supporting outstanding American graduate students in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“I am extremely grateful for this honorable mention from this competitive National Science Foundation fellowship program,” Conforti said. “The two laboratory research groups I work with here at Baylor are very excited about the collaboration research project acknowledged in this award, and this honorable mention shows us that our project has all the right components to be successful.”

Conforti is taking part in joint research being performed by two Baylor laboratories — those led by Elyssia S. Gallagher, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and by Joseph Taube, PhD, assistant professor of biology.

“My lab focuses on analytical chemistry research, while Dr. Taube’s lab in biology deals with cancer research,” Gallagher said. “The goal of our joint project is to identify proteins that are important in the biological process that initiates metastasis in cancer. Thus far, Jessica has worked to develop new methods that we will use in future biological studies.”

“Jess is a fantastic young researcher who is enthusiastic both for the scientific questions, and also for the scientific method,” Taube said. “She has devoted countless hours to running samples and is obtaining in-depth data. Her work is showing us new details about the proteins found within a particular breast cancer cell line called MCF7. And in the future, she will help us understand how these proteins’ modifications are changed when we block a key enzyme involved in cancer growth and spread.”

Conforti is seeking a PhD in analytical chemistry at Baylor.

“After I receive my degree, my goal is to apply my instrumentation knowledge at a pharmaceutical industry in an analytical chemistry department,” she said.