Molly Evans-Department of Biological Sciences - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Molly Evans

Senior, B.S. in Biological Sciences

“I really enjoy learning how things work and majoring in biological sciences allows me to explore this interest.”

I was first introduced to Carnegie Mellon University as a junior in high school, during a trip to visit my older sister, a CMU student at the time. By attending classes with her, I was able to gain a true sense of what it would be like to enroll here. After debating between a few colleges, I reflected upon my visit and knew that I felt most comfortable at CMU.

During my first-year, I was torn between majoring in Chemistry or Biological Sciences. I ultimately choose biological sciences. However, I still have the freedom to combine both of my interests, due to CMU’s interdisciplinary nature. For instance, I have worked in the chemistry lab of Assistant Professor Subha Das for the past year and a half.

Within the Das lab, I am studying the hepatitis delta virus (HDV) ribozyme active site network using a chemo-genetic analysis. In particular, I site-specifically replace single oxygen atoms with sulfur atoms within the HDV ribozyme active site. These site-specific mutations alter the active site network and have an effect on the rate of cleavage. By using both wild-type and hyperactivated substrates, I can couple the site-specific mutation to its effect on ribozyme function.

In addition to working in the Das lab throughout the academic year, I was also fortunate enough to be chosen to participate in the HHMI Scholars program last summer. This program offered me the opportunity to focus on research full-time. I didn’t have to stop in the middle of an experiment, and then try to remember where I left off a few days later, like I did during the academic year. The HHMI Scholars program also included a capstone poster session and presentation. These events provided invaluable experience in talking to other scientists and explaining my research.

I was able to utilize my presentation knowledge while attending my first professional conference last fall. I presented a poster of my research at the Rustbelt RNA Conference in Ohio.

Not only do I participate in research, but I am also a member of the Tartan swim team. Even though being a student athlete can be challenging at times, I can’t imagine college without it. My teammates are my best friends and a great support system.

After graduation, I would like to attend either veterinarian school or focus on Biochemistry in graduate school.

Update 4/28/2011: Molly Evans is one of three recipents of a 2011 Carnegie Mellon Women's Association (CMWA) Scholarship.