James F. Jakobsen Award Winner Spotlights, 2011

Congratulations to the 2011 Conference Winners!

At the 13th Annual James F. Jakobsen Conference, the following University of Iowa Graduate and Professional Students won awards for their graduate work. Please browse their profiles and get to know winners a little better.

Lydia M. M. Vermeer

Lydia M. M. Vermeer
Cedar Rapids
Home State: 
Home Country: 
What are some of your interests outside of school?: 
Running, playing the clarinet, reading, hiking, going to hockey games
Who is your most significant mentor?: 
The excellent chemistry faculty at Iowa State University helped lead me to graduate school in the first place, and my current mentor Dr. Jonathan Doorn has helped make me into the scientist I am today. His guidance has helped my confidence and ability in the lab grow throughout my time here at Iowa.
What is your favorite Iowa City/Coralville Restaurant?: 
Mama's Deli
Are there any challenges you have faced as a graduate student at Iowa?: 
The pace of graduate school can be daunting when you are first starting. It can take a little while for a student to feel like they fully handle balancing classes and research so as to make enough time for both.
Previous Degrees Earned
Previous Degree [1]: 
B. S.
Degree [1] Area of Study: 
Degree [1] Institution Name: 
Iowa State University
What degree are you currently seeking?: 
Ph. D.
Area of Specialty: 
Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry
Brief thesis project description: 
I'm studying the aldehyde metabolite of dopamine, DOPAL, and its relationship to Parkinson's disease. There is significant neuron death and loss of the neurotransmitter dopamine in PD, leading to motor problems. I study the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase and its inhibition by DOPAL, which leads to decreased L-DOPA, the immediate precursor to dopamine.
Who is your Thesis Advisor?: 
Jonathan A Doorn
Why did you decide to go to graduate school?: 
I was interested in furthering my studies, and exploring a different branch of science which blended biochemistry and chemistry.
Why did you choose The University of Iowa for your graduate studies?: 
I liked the MNPC program; there is a variety of work being done here which spans the whole spectrum of medicinal chemistry.
What are your long term goals beyond your graduate degree at Iowa?: 
I am planning on pursuing post-doctoral work first, and I have yet to decide if I plan on going into academia or industry work afterwards. I want to end up working in the degenerative disease field in the long run.
How has your experience at Iowa allowed you to achieve your goals?: 
I have been given a variety of opportunities and experiences at Iowa that will benefit me in my career goals.
Significant Honors and Achievements
Significant Honors [1]: 
2011, 12th Annual Student Interdisciplinary Heath Research Poster Session Merit Poster Award
Significant Honors [2]: 
2011, 13th Annual Jakobsen Graduate Conference Award, 3rd Place
Significant Honors [3]: 
2010, 12th Annual Jakobsen Graduate Conference Award, 2nd Place
Significant Honors [4]: 
2010, GSS Travel Award
Significant Honors [5]: 
2007, H.F. Plagens Chemistry Scholarship
What year did you win an award at the Jakobsen Conference?: 
What do you enjoy most about the Conference?: 
I like that there is a wide variety of presentations, and the whole of the graduate college is involved, giving students from other disciplines the opportunity to see what is going on in other colleges on campus.