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Emma G

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Harvard University


Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Medicine, Synthetic Biology


I am currently a graduate student in the Harvard Chemical Biology PhD program. Broadly, I am interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of different processes in biology, including different parts of normal cell function such as protein folding and gene regulation as well as how these processes are disrupted in disease. At Harvard I also volunteer as a reviewer for the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a scientific journal for middle and high school students. I obtained my Bachelor of Science degree from Yale University in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry in 2019. In my undergraduate research, I worked in synthetic biology and protein evolution in the lab of Professor Alanna Schepartz. While at Yale I also enjoyed teaching classes on different topics in biochemistry to high school students through Splash at Yale. Outside of my research and teaching, I enjoy drinking coffee with my cat, cooking, baking, and exploring Boston.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Biochemistry and Chemical Biology of Medicine:

All of biology is based on chemistry, and therefore all human diseases and disorders can be described at a biochemical level. By understanding how the chemistry of a disease works, scientists can design and discover new medicines to treat these diseases, of course with many challenges along the way. Some diseases (such as sickle cell anemia) have relatively simple chemical mechanisms but difficult solutions, whereas others (such as most cancers) have chemically complicated causes and therapies. In this project you will learn about a disease mechanism of your choice at the molecular level, learning genetics, biochemistry, and chemical biology along the way and producing a final proposal aiming to answer an unknown question in the disease of choice or to develop a new therapy for that disease.

Chemical Epigenetics:

Your DNA encodes all of the information necessary to make the proteins that make up your body. However, every cell in your body contains the same DNA, but different cells carry out vastly different functions. How does each cell know what part of the DNA to use to be, for example, a neuron? Epigenetic marks are extra chemical groups added in certain locations of your DNA that help cells to identify what DNA they should be using and what parts they shouldn't. In this project you will learn about these different chemical groups, how they're added and removed, and how they tell the cell what parts of the DNA it should be using. At the end of the project you will write a blog post, make a video, or use another media of your choice to explain your new knowledge such that your classmates can understand what you've learned!

Proteins and Enzymes, Natural and Designed:

Proteins are one of the primary types of molecules that make up your body. For example, collagen in your skin and keratin in your hair and nails are both proteins. Enzymes are a special kind of protein that perform chemical reactions in your body. In this project you will explore different types of naturally occurring proteins and enzymes and learn how their chemical structure allows them to perform their functions. In addition, you'll learn about efforts to design artificial proteins for bio-engineering and therapeutic purposes. You will also learn how to use the protein structure viewing software pymol, and use this software to produce a primarily graphical (or video) final project explaining how a protein's structure allows it to perform its desired function.

Teaching experience

I was a peer tutor for second semester organic chemistry twice as an undergraduate at Yale. I also taught classes on CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing and RNA biology to high school students and the chemistry of life to middle school students through Splash at Yale. I also volunteer as a reviewer for the Journal of Emerging Investigators, a scientific journal for middle and high school students.


Work experience

Harvard University (2019 - Current)
Graduate student
Yale University (2016 - 2019)
Undergraduate researcher
Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester (2014 - 2019)
Research Assistant


Yale University
BS Bachelor of Science (2019)
Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry
Harvard University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Chemical Biology


"The experience was awesome. My mentor taught me a lot regarding things related with epigenetic and DNA and ways to find scientific papers. I received a lot of help from my mentor."


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