Computational Chemist Dives Deep

Justin Nwafor ’21 prepares to make his mark

ACS-certified chemistry major Justin Nwafor won the prestigious Oakes and Louise Ames Prize for his senior thesis on fluorescent proteins that have recently revolutionized the fields of biological and medical science. 

After working for two years in Professor Marc Zimmer’s lab, Justin launched an independent examination of three glycines found in jellyfish, corals and sea squirts. His findings will soon be submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, with Nwafor as first author.

Chemistry Department Chair Tanya L. Schneider praised Nwafor’s work as representing “an unusually high level of scientific achievement for an undergraduate researcher.”

A mathematics and physics double minor, first-generation college student, Science Leader and member of the varsity men’s basketball team, Justin completed computational chemistry internships with Rosetta REU and Pfizer, Inc.

This fall, he began a post-baccalaureate research program at Johns Hopkins University before pursuing a doctorate in medicine and in philosophy.

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