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Hixson to Head to Germany for Meeting with Nobel Laureates

Posted by struscott | April 10, 2011
Kim Hixson
Kim Hixson. Photo: Michelle Burns/WSU

Kim Hixson, a Washington State University graduate student in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, will travel to Lindau, Germany this summer to attend the prestigious Nobel Laureate Meeting.

Hixson is a second-year graduate student working in the laboratory of Dr. Norman G. Lewis. Hixson completed an extensive three-phase application process that began with an institutional nomination from Lewis. “We are delighted to learn that Kim has been selected from this truly outstanding group of student’s nation and worldwide,” said Lewis, “This is wonderful recognition of her talent and promise.”

Hixson will be joining nearly 550 graduate students from across the globe as well as 20 Nobel Laureates from fields of physiology or medicine. During the meeting, Hixson will network with Nobel Laureates as well as other graduate students. “It will be an incredible experience to interact with the early career scientists who will become my peers, as well as meet the people who have changed paradigms and dogmas of science,” said Hixson.

Young researchers use the weeklong meeting to learn from pioneers in their fields and to exchange ideas between generations of scientists. Lectures from the Nobel Laureates and student panel conversations will cover recent scientific advances and discuss what may be the most fruitful areas of inquiry in the future.

Hixson’s research focuses on understanding how the manipulation of protein expression in plants affects other proteins as well as the whole plant. The goal of the research, gaining a deeper understanding of expression of particular proteins in plants, is to direct scientists as they explore the use of plants to produce high-value chemicals used as replacements for petroleum by-products.

Specifically, Hixson is studying the proteomic changes that occur in Arabidopsis in response to altered arogenate dehydratase (ADT) gene family expression using advanced high-throughput mass spectrometry approaches. ADTs are important in plant systems because they are predominantly responsible for the synthesis of phenylalanine, which itself is a precursor to many highly valuable plant chemicals, including proteins, various medicinals, and lignocellulosics biomass among others.

-By Michelle Burns,
CAHNRS Marketing, News, and Educational Communications intern

Learn more

Visit the Institute for Biological Chemistry web site to learn more about research and graduate opportunities