Pasadena High School Students Spend An Evening with a MIT Scientist

L-R: Ms. Mary Hines, Cameron Hardy, Colleen Gold, Dr. JoAnne Stubbe, Kiera Smith, Cannon Nielsen and Sean Miller.

Pasadena High School’s Ms. Mary Hines and five of her AP Chemistry students were recently invited to attend the 55th Annual Robbins Lecture Series presented by the Chemistry Department at Pomona College. Our students attended the lecture held on February 6th at Pomona College in Claremont. They were treated to dinner in the Edwards Ballroom followed by a lecture given by Dr. JoAnne Stubbe in the Seaver North Laboratory Lecture Hall.

JoAnne Stubbe is the Novartis Professor of Chemistry, and Professor of Biology, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Her research has helped scientists understand the ways in which enzymes catalyze chemical reactions with rare accelerations over non-enzyme catalyzed reactions. She has primarily focused on how nature harnesses the reactivity of free radicals to carry out difficult chemistry with exquisite specificity by focusing mostly on the mechanism of nucleotide reductases, the enzymes responsible for the biosynthesis of the deoxyribonucleotide building blocks required for DNA biosynthesis. Her work has led to the design and synthesis of nucleotide analogs used in the treatment of various cancers. Her earlier work revolutionized the biochemistry field with her first two scientific papers on the enzymes enolase and pyruvate kinase.

Prof. Stubbe received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley in 1971. Following a year of postdoctoral work at UCLA, she taught at Williams College, Yale University and the University of Wisconsin. She became the first female tenure professor in the MIT Chemistry Department in 1987.

In 1992, she was elected to the National Academy of Science and was the recipient of the National Medal of Science in 2008 for her groundbreaking research in biochemistry and enzyme mechanism. This was followed in 2010, by Professor Stubbe receiving the Welch Award in 2010 for chemical research contributions having a significant, positive influence on mankind and in 2012 with the Killian Faculty Award, MIT’s highest faculty award recognizing her scientific leadership, pioneering work and inspiring teaching.

The lecture the students attended was entitled “Radicals: Your Life is in Their Hands”.

What a fantastic opportunity for PHS students!

Pasadena High School, 2925 E. Sierra Madre Blv., Pasadena, (626) 396-5880 or visit



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