Hometown: Pensacola, Florida
Plans: Postdoctoral researcher, UMBC
At UMBC, I have been able to pursue my passion for research and explore questions that interest me…The terrific mentorship I have received here has given me confidence to continue in research and, ultimately, enter the professoriate.
Janae Baptiste is a Meyerhoff Graduate Fellow and an NIH Chemistry-Biology Interface Fellow, dedicated to both research and teaching. Her research in the lab of Michael Summers at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute facility at UMBC focuses on determining the structure of proteins involved in the replication of HIV, which is a necessary step toward developing new therapies to block viral replication. Baptiste will continue her research in the Summers lab as a postdoctoral researcher after graduation, as well as teach biochemistry to undergraduates.
“UMBC helped me to discover that I love to teach,” she says, “by providing several opportunities to interact with undergraduates in research and teaching laboratories.” An ability to explain chemistry in an accessible way is critical for teaching, and Baptiste demonstrated that skill when she won People’s Choice Award and second place overall at UMBC’s 2017 Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. She also volunteers with Baltimore City youth to increase their exposure to STEM activities and mentorship.Janae Baptiste just after successfully defending her dissertation. She is holding a model of one of the protein structures that she determined in her research. She says the photo reminds her “of all those in the UMBC community that guided me and helped make my dream of earning a Ph.D. possible.” Photo courtesy of Janae Baptiste.
Portrait by Marlayna Demond ‘11 for UMBC.