Antropow ’13 Sets Out to Cure Disease as Chemistry Ph.D. Student

3/11/2013

Alyssa Antropow ’13 has a very specific life goal: to discovery new treatments for serious diseases and illnesses through the science of organic chemistry.

When the North Haledon, N.J. native, graduates from Stevens in May with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Chemistry, she’ll already be well on her way.

In her years at Stevens, Antropow earned a near-perfect 3.9 grade point average, worked alongside Stevens Chemistry professors to advance the search for an HIV cure, and gained work experience in a pharmaceutical company’s chemistry lab.

She was basically a shoe-in for admissions to the top-ranked Ph.D. programs she applied to, and next fall, she's currently choosing which offer to accept.

“As a doctoral student in Chemistry, I’ll be responsible for conducting unique research under the guidance of a professor, and upon completion of higher education, I plan to seek industry opportunities for chemists,” Antropow said. “I believe that by developing treatments options for any prevalent disease, we can improve the life of a single patient as well as the lives of that patient’s family and friends.”

Antropow has been pursuing her lofty goal since her high school years at Academy of the Holy Angels, where she took three advanced chemistry courses, including organic chemistry.

“I always knew I was a ‘math and science’ kid, and I was inspired to pursue an education in chemistry by my high school teacher, Ms. Brizzolara,” Antropow said. “She taught us practical applications of the science and made everything about chemistry fun.”

At Stevens, Antropow was further motivated to make the world a better place through science by virtue of her undergraduate Chemistry coursework and associated research opportunities.

One of her most life changing experiences was participating in drug discovery research with Dr. A.K. Ganguly, professor of Chemistry, Chemical Biology and Biomedical Engineering at Stevens. Antropow was part of his team of researchers working to develop a novel HIV protease inhibitor which could potentially stop the spread of the virus in the body. Recently, biological tests showed that one of the compounds Antropow herself synthesized makes an especially promising drug target.

“Dr. Ganguly introduced me to the idea that a molecule I conceive in a lab could actually serve to treat illnesses,” Antropow said. “He has had an immeasurable impact on me as a scientist and enabled me to develop into the chemist I always hoped to be.”

Antropow also benefitted from an internship in the Discovery Chemistry department of Hoffman-LaRoche, where she worked to synthesize potentially biologically active organic molecules as drug targets.

“At Hoffman-LaRoche, I expanded my previous lab skills and explored new methods in the field, such as microwave reactions and radial chromatography,” Antropow said.

In Antropow’s social life and extracurricular activities, she maintains a similarly philanthropic focus as in her academic and career pursuits. The winner of numerous awards for both scholarship and leadership, she made a long-term impact within the Stevens community campus through her involvement in Stevens’ service-focused student groups, including Alpha Phi Omega, an international coed service fraternity, and S.A.V.E, an environmental club she founded.

She also performed with the Stevens Choir, worked as a peer mentor and tutor through the Academic Support Center, served as an Orientation leader and coordinator for incoming freshmen students, and helped to reactivate the Stevens student chapter of the American Chemical Society.

“My main goal in all of my activities is to strengthen and better the Stevens community,” Antropow said. “I am passionate about serving where needed and enabling others to serve.”