I am most excited to work with talented students every day. It is also exciting when the computer modelling they do provides the missing explanations that help us understand the traditional ‘wet’ experimental data collected in our collaborators’ labs.
As a computational chemist, Dr. Stacey Wetmore hopes to help build the textbook picture of how DNA and RNA are modified and processed in our cells. Dr. Wetmore joined uLethbridge in 2006 as a Tier II Canada Research Chair in computational chemistry and is currently a Tier I Board of Governors Research Chair. She teaches second, third and fourth-year physical and computational chemistry courses and works with graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduate students in her research lab.
What sparked your interest in your field?
I became interested in computational chemistry because it combines chemistry, physics, and math and allows us to ‘see’ how molecules come together to react. I really enjoyed learning about chemistry, but I was also a little clumsy, so this field was the perfect fit for me!
Tell us about the first time you felt really excited about what you were learning?
When I was a PhD student, my work helped us understand what highly reactive radicals are formed when DNA is exposed to radiation, which causes additional damage in our bodies. This was really exciting at the time as computers were just being built that were powerful enough to consider important questions about biological molecules—it gave me a glimpse of where the field could go in the future!
What do you hope to accomplish through your work?
Through the work in my lab, I hope to help build the textbook picture of how DNA and RNA are modified and processed in our cells. The end goal is to use this information to help design new molecules that can make our lives better, either through the development of medicines or nanomaterials.
What words of inspiration would you like to share with the next generation of women and girls?
Be brave! Ask lots of questions, get involved, and try many different fields. You are just as capable as anyone else, and any career you choose will be richer for having you included.
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