Carnegie Mellon University
May 03, 2023

Gutkin Honored with Lassettre Graduate Travel Award

By Kirsten Heuring

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Carnegie Mellon University doctoral student Evgeny "Eugene" Gutkin studies computer-aided drug design and uses computational tools to investigate molecular targets for medicine.

A member of the lab of Maria Kurnikova, professor of chemistry, Gutkin presented his work at the American Chemical Society's Spring Meeting in March in Indianapolis. He finds compounds that are most likely to bind to a particular target and guides the design of new potential therapeutics with improved activity. He uses machine learning and molecular dynamics to find molecules that can potentially treat diseases such as Parkinson's disease and COVID-19.

"As a Ph.D. student, it is very important to ensure that my research is seen, so it can have a fruitful impact on my future career," said Gutkin, who traveled to the conference because of the Department of Chemistry's Edwin N. Lassettre Graduate Travel Award. "Discussing work with other researchers allows for valuable feedback, which is extremely useful to plan further work." 

Named for former Carnegie Mellon professor Edwin N. Lassettre, the travel award is given to at least one chemistry student annually who presents at a conference to defray transportation and housing costs.

"It is a great honor for me to receive this award, and I am very grateful to the chemistry department graduate program committee for recognizing my research efforts and supporting my goals," Gutkin said. "I am very grateful to Professor Maria Kurnikova and Professor Olexandr Isayev, as well as Dr. Chamali Narangoda, Ben Koby and Filipp Gusev for their guidance, feedback and contributions to this research. Also, many thanks to our collaborators from University of British Columbia, Professor Artem Cherkasov, Dr. Francesco Gentile and Dr. Fuqiang Ban."

Gutkin said that the opportunity to connect with peers and leading researchers at conferences is key.

"I had the great pleasure to meet and talk with professionals in the field of computational chemistry, exchanging knowledge and establishing future connections," he said.

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