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Student Profile in Methodology

Lauren Edwards

Organic Chemistry Graduate Program

Mentor: Uttam Tambar, Ph.D.
Undergraduate Degree: Chemistry
Undergraduate Institution: Texas Christian University
Hometown: Grapevine, TX

Awards/Fellowships: Graduate School: Chemical Biology Interface T32 Training Grant

Lauren Edwards

How did you become interested in science and/or research?

I have always had an insatiable curiosity for knowing how things work, and if there was not an obvious answer I set out to find it. However, I really knew that science and research was for me when I took organic chemistry in college. I absolutely fell in love with learning about mechanisms, as well as viewing molecules as puzzles we can put together and synthesize. I then decided to harness my genuine desire to learn to make impactful discoveries.

Please describe your research.

My research entails exploring new reactivity in organic synthesis, specifically in catalysis. I work towards developing methodologies to connect components that otherwise would not react with each other to create molecules in non-obvious ways. My projects also involve finding new ways to create motifs that have biological or medicinal relevance.

Why did you choose UT Southwestern?

When I was looking at graduate schools, I felt confident I would receive a meaningful education at any of the institutions I was applying to. What stood out to me about UTSW was the culture at the school. The students and faculty here genuinely want to see each other succeed, and there is a highly collaborative environment. Furthermore, the students at UTSW work incredibly hard, and this is reflected in publication output as well as job opportunities following graduation. However, there is a healthy work-life balance, which helps to make us more productive when we are in lab.

What do you think makes the Organic Chemistry Program one of the best?

The UTSW Organic Chemistry program is premier due to the caliber of the faculty. The professors here are not only absolutely brilliant, but they ensure the students receive individualized attention. They hold us to high standards, as they want us to learn as much as possible, but it is also evident that they care about us personally, and want us to succeed.

What do you love about the Organic Chemistry Program?

Graduate school can be difficult, as we are all working hard and spending a lot of hours in lab. What I love about my program is that I always feel encouraged and supported. Whether it is through my peers or my professors, I am constantly being pushed to keep learning, growing, and staying passionate about my research.

- Lauren Edwards

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