On the 25th of August, Amy Solinski will take the stage at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Diego to present at the Merck-sponsored Women Chemist Committee (WCC) Session. The opportunity is a wonderful recognition of Amy’s scientific excellence as well as her advocacy for women in science – she is a recipient of the 2018 ACS Georgia Section Women in Chemistry Scholarship, a member of the Georgia Chapter of the WCC, and a member of Emory’s Association for Women in Science (AWIS).
Amy Solinski’s contributions at Emory paint a picture of an engaged, curious, and creative scholar. From collaborations in the Wuest Lab and beyond to outreach with multiple organizations, she has had an impact on the Emory community. Her contributions to our community are made all the more impressive by the fact that, despite being a rising fifth year graduate student, she has only been at Emory for two years as of this June. She moved to Emory from Temple University with her advisor, Dr. Bill Wuest, when he joined the Emory faculty in 2017. Amy’s hobby of photography has had a visual impact on the community as well. Her work is featured on the Wuest Lab website, the Department of Chemistry website, and has been featured in multiple chemistry news stories.
In the Wuest Lab, Amy’s graduate research centers around the development of antibiotics derived from natural products. She uses chemical tools to study complex biological systems, specifically focusing on biofilm growth in the oral cavity. In fact, her manuscript, “Synthetic Simplification of Carolacton Enables Chemical Genetic Studies in Streptococcus mutans”, was recently published in ACS Infectious Diseases. This research will be the focus of her talk at the ACS meeting.
Amy appreciates the dynamic nature of the research in the Wuest lab. Although most of the research projects start with synthesis, they tend to branch out into medicinal chemistry, chemical biology, or other fields of chemical application. “You aren’t pigeonholed into one area of science,” says Amy. “If a project takes you in a new direction, you are encouraged to continue in that direction.” Fortunately, her lab members are keen to collaborate and, when she needed resources outside of her own lab, she was able to reach out to other labs. In fact, she has been a part of three separate collaborations so far!
When she isn’t spearheading collaborative research efforts, Amy is also a leader in the many organizations of which she is a member. For the AWIS Emory Graduate Student Chapter, Amy has served as the social networking chair, helping to plan networking events with other organizations. One event this last spring was a brunch social attended by members of the Georgia AWIS chapter, a few engineering organizations, and some members of the Georgia Tech community. As a member of the Georgia Chapter of the WCC, she has also helped manage communications efforts through social media.
Big things are on the horizon for Amy as she enters her fifth year. She has another manuscript soon to be published and has recently embarked on the search for a postdoc position. Although she is open to several possibilities, she is hoping to dive a little deeper into the realm of chemical biology. “I’m really into the idea of using synthesis and chemistry as a tool in biological systems,” Amy says. Her passion for research is matched by her passion for mentorship. Having mentored two undergraduate students and several younger graduate students, she is particularly interested in a career where she can provide one-on-one mentorship to students in a research setting.
“Research is hard!” says Amy. “Sometimes it’s hard to visualize the real impact, but persistence is key.” As she moves closer to the end of her graduate career, she is beginning to see the pieces of her project really come together. Amy is enthusiastic about her career trajectory, confident that she can reach her professional goals, and excited about her recent engagement! She is really looking forward to a bright and fulfilling future.