A Postcard From: Christianna Kutz ’18

Name: Christianna Kutz
Class Year: 2018
Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Frederick, Md.

Internship Placement: Malachowski Research Lab
Job Title: Intern
Location: Bryn Mawr College

What’s happening at your internship?

I am currently working on the IDO project, which focuses on synthesizing indoleamine 2,3-deoxygenase-1 (IDO-1) inhibitors. More specially, I am focusing on the synthesis of a 4-phenyl-imidazole molecule that contains an electrophilic group located in the meta position of the phenyl ring. This will allow it to bind to IDO-1 as well as hopefully form a covalent linkage with IDO’s Cys-129 group. In order to achieve this, I begin with synthesizing the imidazole ring and then I manipulate the phenyl ring to install an electrophilic group. The finished product will then be sent for initial testing at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (isolated enzyme) and then further testing at the Lankenau Institute of Medical Research (cellular system).

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied for this internship because I am very interested in this type of research work and wish to eventually have a career in a very similar field. Also, I plan to do a thesis with Dr. Malachowski using the work I’ve done in his lab.

Living in a new city? What has that experience been like for you?

It’s my first time living away from home in an apartment. I don’t have a car so I use SEPTA a lot. However, it’s frustrating when the train or bus ends up being delayed by half an hour and my entire schedule gets affected.

What is most rewarding about your internship?

The most rewarding thing about my internship is when after a lot of hard work and some failures, I am able to get a reaction to succeed. Sometimes even the smallest detail (e.g. increasing reaction time slightly) can make the biggest difference. It’s always great when the product I’ve synthesized turns out to be the one I was hoping for. Reactions don’t always work out and sometimes a different path needs to be chosen. However, when they do work after failing a few times, it’s the best.