Meet Millie, a biochemist and structural biologist currently employed by the Indiana University School of Medicine as a professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. From an early age, Millie was very curious about how things worked and, in particular, biological systems; this curiosity drew her to pursue a career in science. Millie holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
As an undergraduate, Millie was torn between two loves: one being the study of the past (such as ancient civilizations and languages) and the other focused on the future (science). "Being a pragmatic person," she ultimately chose science and the future as her career path. Today, Millie is trained in biochemistry and structural biology and works to elucidate detailed 3D structures of natural macromolecules such as DNA and protein that are involved in fundamental processes of life as well as unnatural ALIEN DNA. In her lab, they study the structure and function of DNA polymerases and also grow crystals of protein, DNA, and protein-DNA complexes.
Biochemist - (n) a professional trained in biochemistry who studies chemical processes and chemical transformations in living organisms such as DNA, proteins, and cell parts
According to Millie, the best aspect of her job is solving biological problems through creative and innovative approaches and training the next generation of scientists. While balancing time spent fulfilling administrative tasks with time for research efforts presents its challenges, Millie goes above and beyond to further support future scientists. In addition to her professional responsibilities, Millie works with Project SEED, a program that sponsors primarily high school students for summer research. She also oversees a summer research program with Mohammed Bin Rashid University Medical School in Dubai to provide research opportunities to these students in conjunction with the Center for the Study of the Middle East at Indiana University in Bloomington.
As an inspiration to young girls aspiring to go into STEM career fields, Millie was quoted saying:
"Conducting scientific research is the best job ever. I wake up every day thinking about new experiments and questions that I would like to answer... I can't imagine a time when I would not be excited about science."
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