Grad Student Spotlight: Nyema Harmon

Nyema Harmon

Nyema grew up in Michigan and Florida. He graduated high school in Yulee, FL and is an alumnus of Purdue University in Indiana.

As an undergrad, Nyema enrolled as a pharmacy major and became interested in studying chemistry after taking an organic chemistry course. He was intrigued by the parallels between biological systems and chemical processes, and he recognized that chemistry is a great field for anyone who is interested in interdisciplinary work between the sciences.

Nyema is part of the Wiemer research group, which focuses primarily on organic syntheses and bio-organic chemistry. Nyema’s thesis project is to develop a new fluorescent prodrug to help examine the protein BTN3A1, which stimulates the activation of T-cells that are essential to fighting leukemia. Not much is yet understood about the interaction between the protein and T-cells, but Nyema is hopeful his fluorescent prodrug will help him to gain information on how certain cells interact with T-cell activating molecules. This research will provide a better understanding of the processes involved in T-cell activation, including when and where activation occurs. Hopefully, the results of Nyema’s work will help with the creation of better cancer therapeutics in the future.

Nyema’s advice for future graduate students: be proactive about seeking and applying for funding. There are many grants, scholarships, and fellowships available to graduate researchers, but only to those who apply.

 

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