Student Successes

Sara Dille

Ph.D. in Chemistry

Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?

My path towards attending IUPUI is slightly out of the ordinary. I received my dual masters from SPEA at IUB back in 2012. Afterwards I moved home to Pittsburgh to begin my Ph.D. with Dr. Partha Basu. In 2016, when Dr. Basu became Department Chair of the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department here at IUPUI, I was given the opportunity to return to Indiana and I am so grateful for that opportunity. I loved my previous time at IUB and my tenure at IUPUI has been just as rewarding. The Chemistry and Chemical Biology department has been extremely helpful and supportive during the moving process and as I complete my degree. It has been clear from day one that all of the professors want the students to succeed and they cultivate a supportive atmosphere for graduate students to learn and grow as scientists.

It has been clear from day one that all of the professors want the students to succeed and they cultivate a supportive atmosphere for graduate students to learn and grow as scientists.

What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?

Since continuing my degree here at IUPUI I have been able to attend the 10th annual Molybdenum and Tungsten Enzyme Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This conference occurs every two years and researchers in my field travel from all over the world to attend the meeting. This year I was invited to present my work including both a poster and an oral presentation. The feedback I received has been invaluable as I move towards the end of my studies.

I have also had to opportunity recently to travel to Ventura, California to attend the Bioinorganic Research Seminar, which is a part of the Metals in Biology Gordon Conference. I was given the opportunity to present a poster and discuss my research and future career options with the leaders of my field.

What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?

Having lived most of my life right outside of Pittsburgh, PA, I love city life. Indianapolis is a great city, there is so much to do and the people here are wonderful.

Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.

My laboratory studies molybdopterin enzymes. My project specifically focuses on the synthesis of small molecule mimics of molybdenum cofactor, which is the active site of molybdopterin enzymes. This cofactor is made up of multiple redox active components and questions still remain on how these components work together during catalysis. We are utilizing small molecule mimics that have been designed based upon the structure of the molybdenum cofactor, and study the reactivity, redox properties and electronics of the mimics. This information gives potential insight into how the cofactor tunes its reactivity towards a specific substrate and how the individual redox active components of the cofactor may work together during catalysis.