Biology Alumna Emma Selner ’18 Publishes Research, Expresses Gratitude for Rhodes Experience

student in lab coat

Rhodes biology alumna Emma Selner ’18 has had a manuscript based on her undergraduate research published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Computational and Theoretical Chemistry. The article, titled “The Effects of Ligand Charge, Orientation and Size on the Binding of Potential Inhibitors for Aldehyde Dehydrogenase,” has applications in treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

Co-authors are chemistry professors Dr. Larryn Peterson and Dr. Mauricio Cafiero and chemistry major Caroline Magee ’19. “I enjoyed being Caroline’s research partner,” says Selner. “Working and presenting with her pushed me to work harder and to think more critically about computational chemistry and modeling.”

At Rhodes, Selner was one of only 60 students nationwide who presented her research to members of Congress at the 2017 Posters on the Hill event hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research. “Dr. Cafiero helped me prepare presentations, encouraged me to apply to Posters on the Hill, and skillfully guided the progression of our project,” she says. “He was a supportive research mentor and professor.”

After graduating from Rhodes, Selner worked as a research technologist at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. “Although my St. Jude family focused on teaching me about neurobiology, I learned so much more. They taught me about teamwork, professionalism, and the importance of work-life balance, and I have gained friends for life. I highly encourage students to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime partnership Rhodes shares with St. Jude.”

Selner, who is originally from Denver, CO, is a medical student at Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences. She says about her Rhodes experience, “My teachers at Rhodes were the foundation of my success and thoroughly prepared me for medical school and my professional work. I firmly believe in the success of small classrooms and the individual development students undergo while working closely with faculty and staff. I would especially like to thank my advisor, Dr. Carolyn Jaslow, for her continued support.”