Spectroscopy Announces the Winner of the 2018 Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award

Jul 18, 2018
By Spectroscopy Editors

Megan ThielgesMegan Thielges, an associate professor of chemistry at Indiana University, has won the 2018 Emerging Leader in Molecular Spectroscopy Award, which is presented by Spectroscopy magazine. This annual award recognizes the achievements and aspirations of a talented young molecular spectroscopist, selected by an independent scientific committee. The award will be presented to Thielges at the SciX 2018 conference in October, where she will give a plenary lecture and be honored in an award symposium.

Thielges received her PhD in biophysics in 2009 from The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. She then served as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University before taking her current position at Indiana University.

At Indiana University, Thielges focuses on the development of approaches in linear and multidimensional infrared (IR) spectroscopy combined with site-specific protein labeling to study protein conformations and dynamics with high spatial and temporal resolution and advance understanding of their roles in function. This work includes application of the approaches to investigate protein molecular recognition and the molecular mechanisms governing its specificity in enzyme catalysis, biological electron transfer, and cellular signaling.

The Thielges group has been a primary developer of 2D IR spectroscopy in combination with incorporating IR probe groups, via protein engineering, as an approach to measure the dynamics at any site in any protein. The Thielges group has for the first time taken advantage of the full potential of the approach by incorporating the IR probe CNF at three distinct positions in the protein plastocyanin and using the probes, along with 2D IR spectroscopy, to measure site-specific heterogeneity and dynamics. The Thielges group also has demonstrated the measurement of dynamics by 2D IR spectroscopy of CNF probes incorporated at six different sites of a Src homology 3 domain to characterize their microenvironments and how their nature and heterogeneity change upon binding a cognate peptide. That work demonstrates the application of site- specific 2D IR spectroscopy for investigating dynamics in protein function.

Thielges has already received several other awards, including the Trustees Teaching Award at Indiana University, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Department of Energy Early Career Award, the Taylor Award from the Midwest Universities Analytical Chemistry Conference, a National Institutes of Health National Research Service Award, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. She has published 11 papers as a principal investigator and 22 as a postdoctoral, graduate, or undergraduate researcher, and has given 45 oral or poster presentations. She has served on several National Institutes of Health study sections and panels, and as reviewer for numerous journals. She has organized sessions at various scientific conferences.

For information about how to nominate a candidate for the 2019 award, please see the call for nominations.

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