Beckman Postdoc Fellows Rodrigues and Jiang to Speak at Nov. 7 Director’s Seminar

Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellows Michelle Rodrigues and Xing Jiang will present their research at the next Director’s Seminar at noon Nov. 7, in Room 1005 Beckman. Rodrigues will talk about “Stressors and Social Coping in Women of Color Scientists,” and Jiang will discuss “Polymer-Peptide Conjugates of Precision: Designing Aβ Aggregation Inhibitors.” The lecture is open to the public, and lunch is provided. No registration is required.

“Stressors and Social Coping in Women of Color Scientists”

Michelle A. Rodrigues, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

Abstract

 Photo of Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Michelle Rodrigues at the institute.
Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Michelle Rodrigues will speak about stressors and social coping for women of color scientists at the next Director’s Seminar on Nov. 7.

Women in science experience stressors related to gender discrimination, and these pressures are intensified for women of color in science. Social support plays an important role in buffering stressors, but isolation may limit minoritized women’s ability to access supportive networks. Here, I present both qualitative and quantitative data about the impact of these stressors, and the role of social support in mediating these stressors. Qualitative data from focus groups indicate that women of color science faculty members of all ranks experience negative workplace experiences, including incivility, harassment, and social exclusion. Isolation and social exclusion may limit women’s ability to contextualize their experiences, whereas social support allows women to recognize how their experiences reflect larger patterns. Quantitative data supports the concept of selective incivilities, where women who receive greater racial microaggressions also experience more incivilities. Preliminary data suggests that partner support may be the strongest source of social support. Preliminary data will be presented on how these social experiences impact women of color’s physiological stress responses.

Speaker Biography

Michelle A. Rodrigues is a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She studies how stressors are mediated by social support in human and non-human primates. After studying wild monkey friendship in Costa Rica, and social networks in captive apes, she is currently examining how the stresses of discrimination impact female scientists, focusing on the experiences of women of color scientists.

"Polymer-Peptide Conjugates of Precision: Designing Aβ Aggregation Inhibitors"

Xing Jiang, Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow

Abstract

 Photo of Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Xing Jiang at the institute.
Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow Xing Jiang will speak about development of polymer-peptide conjugates at the next Director’s Seminar on Nov. 7.

The number of people living with Alzheimer’s disease is growing and growing fast. While there is still debate over the causes of this disease, there are evidences that the aggregation of amyloid beta (Aβ) is implicated in the disease development. We aim to develop polymer-peptide conjugates to curb Aβ aggregation. Early work showed that various conjugates, prepared by randomly grafting peptides to a polymer chain, feature more effective inhibition than the isolated peptides. To better understand the mechanism of inhibition, and to develop more potent inhibitors, second generation conjugates were prepared with structural precision at the atomic level.

Speaker Biography

Xing Jiang is a Beckman Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, and he conducts research under the guidance of Professor Jeff Moore, chemistry. He earned a B.S. in chemistry from Peking University, and his Ph.D. in chemistry from UCLA. He joined the Moore Group in 2016, and his primary research interest is the development of polymer-peptide conjugates for inhibiting amyloid-beta aggregation, a process that is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease. He is also interested in the synthesis of advanced organic materials from relatively simple compounds.