Graduate scholars Ordy Gnewou and Jessalyn Rogers, both of the Conticello Group, have been awarded Chateaubriand Fellowships. The Chateaubriand Fellowship is a grant offered by the Embassy of France in the United States to support outstanding Ph.D. students from American universities who wish to conduct research in France for a period ranging from 4 to 9 months. Chateaubriand fellows are selected through a merit-based competition, through a collaborative process involving expert evaluators in both countries. Due to current COVID travel restrictions, Ordy and Jessalyn have not yet scheduled their time in France. They are looking forward to a safe and productive trip when conditions allow.
Ordy was born and raised in Cameroon. She earned her B.A. in chemistry from Lehman College (CUNY) before moving to Emory University to pursue the PhD. In the Conticello Group, Ordy is working on design and Cryo-EM characterization of alpha helical nanotubes. Ordy has been been involved in a number of student organizations since she started at Emory. She currently serves as the president of the Emory chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers as well as the outreach chair of the Association for Women in Science. Outside of school, Ordy practices yoga – “it is the one thing that help to ground and center me.”
During her time in France, Ordy will extend the Conticello Group’s work on the structure of near-atmoic resolution of synthetic helical nanotubes derived from coiled-coil peptides. The cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of these nanotubes could be understood in terms of packing of cross-alpha helical filaments. The research to be performed in France will be focused on elucidating the molecular self-assembly mechanism of the previously characterized cross-alpha helical nanotubes using different and complementary experimental techniques. Ordywill investigate the optimal conditions for self-assembly of the respective tubes, as well as the successive steps involved in the nanotube formation process, to gain more insight into the supramolecular organization mechanism.
Jessalyn Rogers worked on intrinsically disordered proteins during her BS in Biochemistry at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. While at Western, she minored in French. In 2016 she moved back to her native California Bay Area to work in synthetic biology at Intrexon (now MBPTitan). She joined the Conticello lab in 2018. She is currently serving as PACS VP for Education and Outreach.
In France, Jessalyn will be working in Philippe Minard’s lab at Université Paris-Saclay. The Minard lab designed a group of proteins called “αReps.” The project involves screening for new αRep-binding proteins using phage display. These protein pairs will be developed into modular, synthetic interaction motifs.