Success Stories

Alum's research is cover story

Kyle Schneider, center

The January-March 2010 cover of Biochemistry, a journal published by the American Chemical Society, shows a picture of the structure of a particular enzyme. It may appear confusing to some, but not to Grand Valley alum Kyle Schneider.

Schneider graduated from Grand Valley in April 2009, majoring in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry and biotechnology. He is attending graduate school at Yale University, working toward a doctorate in biochemistry. But, last year, as an undergrad at Grand Valley, he conducted research on a fairly new drug — an antibiotic called doripenem, which is similar to penicillin.

"The goal of the research was to investigate the bacterial defenses toward the antibiotic," said Schneider, "and to understand the mechanism by which bacteria are able to become resistant to antibiotics."

The findings are featured in Biochemistry, unique because no one has attempted this type of research on doripenem. David Leonard, associate professor of chemistry at Grand Valley, assisted Schneider with the project. "This research is significant because scientists can possibly use the information to develop more effective drugs to help overcome antibiotic resistance," said Leonard. "Antibiotic resistance can be very dangerous and therefore represents a huge health challenge."

Schneider was also assisted by Rachel Powers, assistant professor of chemistry. "I could not have accomplished this without the help of my professors," said Schneider. "That is what sets Grand Valley apart from other universities. You can work alongside professors and conduct one-on-one research as an undergraduate."

The Portland native plans to be a research scientist. He has already served as the lead author for two published papers and in 2008 was the recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.

by Dottie Barnes