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Saadyah Averick

DSM Science & Technology Awards Americas (2014)

PhD Candidate, Carnegie Mellon Unviersity, Pittsburgh (USA)
Saadyah Averick

Saadyah Averick from Carnegie Mellon Unviersity, Pittsburgh (USA), won the DSM Science & Technology Awards Americas 2014 with his Ph.D. research titled “The Preparation of Functional Bioconjugates Using Atom Transfer Radical Polymerization”, which he conducted under supervision of Dr. Krzysztof Matyjaszewski. While doing a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Biochemistry at the College of Staten Island-CUNY, Saadyah was inspired by the work of Dr. Raja in the field of biomolecule polymer hybrid, and pursued a Ph.D. in this subject. His work was of exceptional originality at the interface of polymer chemistry and biology and will be directly applicable to advance a wide range of biomedical applications, such as gene therapy and therapeutics.

I first heard about the DSM Bright Science Awards at the ACS national conference in Denver, three years ago. I think it is great that DSM is actively supporting innovation and research, which I think doesn’t happen enough. I think the research being done in the field of Innovative Polymer Solutions for Biomedical Applications is very important.

I’m very grateful for the prize, which I’ll most likely be putting towards my children’s college fund.

It was an honor to compete with such a talented group of individuals, and I enjoyed sharing a stage with three other highly regarded scientists. The event itself was wonderful, and I liked how packed the audience was. I enjoyed the element of interaction, and that there was time for not only the presentations, but also questions from the panel and the audience.

I have recently been working in the field of the preparation of light-activated materials that can be used for cell adhesion, and I see further involvement in this area for the upcoming future.

I have recently joined the Allegheny Singer Research Institute to direct the Laboratory for Bimolecular Medicines. Here, I will be focusing on translating the advances I made during my Ph.D. into the next generation biohybrids for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

As for further on, we shall see!

Saadyah was the deserved winner of this award. He combined cutting-edge fundamental polymer science with practical significance. He used ATRP for the synthesis of bioconjugates not only to grow polymers from a genetically encoded initiator, but he also incorporated an ATRP initiator to DNA and used this macroinitiator to grow hydrophilic and hydrophobic polymers from DNA.

This research is a significant step forwards, and the practical applications of this work will be significant.”

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