Neha Prasad graduated from Washington University with her AB in Chemistry in December 2016. She spent several semesters performing undergraduate research in Prof. Tim Wencewicz’s lab investigating the molecular mechanisms of obafluorin. In her NSF proposal, she devised a culture-independent strategy to relate the presence of differentially produced natural products in diverse marine microbiomes to the microbial and chemical composition of the samples, thus enabling the discovery of new molecules that could serve as therapeutics or inducers of bioactive secondary metabolites. The idea was inspired by her experience learning about marine natural products in Dr. Paul Jensen’s lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Prof. Tim Wencewicz’s undying enthusiasm for nature’s reservoir of bioactive molecules with highly evolved chemical scaffolds of inconceivable complexities.
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the US and reinforces its diversity. The program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based masters and doctoral degrees at accredited US institutions. More information about the NSF GRFP here: http://www.nsfgrfp.org/general_resources/about