Virginia F. Smith
Flasks and test tubes of chemicals

Research Opportunities for Midshipmen

I encourage midshipmen to contact me if they are interested in working on any of the research projects described under Research Interests.  Midshipmen who work with me will receive broad training in the methods of biochemistry and biophysics.  You will gain experience in bacterial cell culture, protein purification, chemical and enzymatic modification of proteins and various analytical and spectroscopic techniques.

The Chemistry Department at USNA is well-equipped to support a wide range of biophysical research methods. In particular, members of my lab will use various forms of spectroscopy, including ultraviolet, visible, and fluorescence, paramagnetic resonance, circular dichroism spectroscopy.  You may also get experience with mass spectrometry, differential scanning calorimetry, enzyme and chemical activity assays, and protein analysis methods.  As necessary, we will use recombinant molecular biology methods to overexpress and purify proteins for analysis.

Regardless of your project, you will sharpen skills in critical thinking, data organization and oral and written communications that will be valuable to you in your future life as an officer in the Navy or Marine Corps.

Recommended prerequisites:

SC111 & 112 Foundations of Chemistry

SC225 & SC226 Organic Chemistry I and II

SC263/264 Integrated Laboratories I and II

SC345 Physical Chemistry (thermodynamics)

SC335 Biochemistry

Even if you have not taken all these courses yet, please come talk to me if you are interested in joining my laboratory.

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