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Kristin N. Parent, Ph.D.

The AAAS Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences recipient. 

Kristin Parent, is a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Michigan State University. The primary project in her laboratory involves understanding how viruses recognize and infect their hosts. For this, she uses a model system of bacteriophage infection into various types of bacteria. Parent is also doing pioneering research to advance the use of electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) and three-dimensional image reconstruction methods when applied to large and challenging biological specimens that are currently outside cryoEM imaging limitations. Towards this end, her research focuses on the Samba virus from the Brazilian Amazon, which is currently one of the largest viruses studied to date. Her work includes a combination of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics and structural biology. She has 25 research papers, and she was first author on a 2010 paper that appeared in the journal Structure and was highlighted on the journal cover. Another one of her 2010 first author papers that was also highlighted on the journal cover appeared in a special issue of Physical Biology. Other notable cover designs include a 2012 Virology article on bacteriophage Sf6 that infects Shigella flexneri, a human pathogen that causes dysentery and a 2013 featured image in mBio of the structure of Trichomonas vaginalis virus, a virus which has a role in aggravating sexually transmitted disease that are caused by the parasite T. vaginalis. T. vaginalis is associated with premature birth, low birth weight and transmission of HIV and human papillomavirus. Parent received her B.S. degree in Molecular and Cell Biology and her Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Connecticut and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego.  Her doctoral studies were partially supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) Predoctoral Fellowship Program, and she also received an NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship. Her lab includes both undergraduate and graduate students and visiting researchers.