Pheatured Scientist | 010

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Meet this week's pheatured scientist

Phuture

 Dr. Jade Bing

Jade Bing found that scientific research created an avenue by which she could support, teach and encourage other first-generation, low-income, disabled, or minority students like herself. As a child, Bing suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy that caused prolonged paralysis in her legs and arms. With no known cure for the disease, she engaged in years of physical therapy to regain her ability to walk. Bing exceeded her doctor’s expectations when she secured a spot on Rider’s Division I Field Hockey team during her freshman year. Bing encountered another roadblock, however, when her family’s home was destroyed in a fire during her first semester. Without insurance, and a mother who is disabled and unable to work, Bing had to forgo her athletic career to work full-time as a retail manager, while continuing to go to school full-time.

Her experience with GBS motivated her to gain a mechanistic understanding of chemistry and biochemistry to uncover new reactions and apply them in the synthesis of therapeutics, particularly for rare diseases. At Rider, Jade became a McNair Scholar and worked with Dr. Danielle Jacobs on the total asymmetric syntheses of cytotoxic and antimycobacterial natural products. She also worked as a Leadership Alliance Fellow with Dr. Robert Knowles at Princeton University on the use of proton-coupled electron transfer for intermolecular ketyl-olefin coupling. Bing served as an ACS Project SEED Mentor and upon graduation she went on to work as research coordinator and counselor for the McNair program before joining the chemistry program at Vanderbilt.

Bing joined the Johnston laboratory to pursue chemistry that is mechanistically innovative, medicinally relevant, and often aligns well with the principles of green chemistry. Currently, she is working on two projects, one directed towards the on-demand synthesis of peptides that contain non-natural amino acids, and the other directed toward developing a unified approach to access stereodefined beta-fluoro amines; both of which are supported by her National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. These approaches and methodologies will ultimately serve as a means to access peptide therapeutics and to provide medicinal chemists with tools to fine-tune pharmaceutical leads.

Along with research, Bing has served as vice president and President of the Organization of Black Graduate and Professional Students, as well as several other committees throughout the chemistry department and graduate school. Her next goal is to take a two week trip to Moshi, Tanzania to engage with preschool and kindergarten children through movement, nutrition, and science. If you would like to contribute to her fundraising efforts, check out her GoFundMe. When Jade is not busy working in lab, she enjoys playing sports (or any type of competition or game), cooking, and spending time outdoors.