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Eli McDonald wins Karpay Award

Posted by on Friday, November 10, 2023 in News.

Eli McDonald, Meiler & Plate Labs

Congratulations to Eli McDonald, of the Meiler and Plate Labs, for being named the 2024 recipient of The Karpay Award in Structural Biology. “I am truly honored by this recognition,” Eli said.

Eli has worked in the Meiler and Plate labs for four and a half years studying Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) using both computational structural biology and experimental chemical biology approaches in the Meiler lab and Plate lab respectively. Before that his undergraduate work at Vanderbilt focused on molecular dynamics of phospholipid bilayer self-assembly. In addition, Eli has forged collaborations with the Sanders Lab at Vanderbilt, the Schlebach Lab at Purdue University and the Davis Lab at Yale University.

Through his research, Eli is developing methods for modeling CFTR mutations with Cystic Fibrosis drugs to determine the structural contributions of mutations specific drug response, as well as developing a quantitative proteomics platform for measuring CFTR interacting partners in cells.

Eli takes his mind off his work in the lab by hitting the rec center with grad student friends. They even petitioned the rec center to extend their hours! He has taken care of pet reptiles since the age of six, and he currently looks after eight pet turtles—living in outside ponds in his backyard—and one pet python named Pesto. He also enjoys reading non-fiction books about history, finance and performance psychology.

Eli presents CFTR Folding – Started from the Translocon Now We Here on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, as part of the MBTP/CSB Seminar Series. The seminar begins at 12:20pm in 1220 MRB3 with the award presentation to follow.

“Though many years have passed since we lost Dr. Karpay, her legacy lives on,” Eli said. “It feels surreal to join the ranks of past winners, many of whom—particularly Caleigh and Justin—were role models that I looked up to as a young graduate student.”

The Karpay Award was established in 2010 to honor the memory of Dr. Anne Karpay, who died after a four-year battle with breast cancer. It is funded entirely by donations to an endowment managed through the Development Office of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Donate to the fund online.


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