We are delighted to announce that Dr. Lauren Rajakovich will join us as Assistant Professor of Chemistry.
Dr. Rajakovich received a B.S. in chemistry from Wake Forest University where she conducted research with Professor Patricia C. Dos Santos on the biosynthesis of thionucleosides. Dr. Rajakovich received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University in biochemistry, microbiology, and molecular biology. She trained in the joint laboratory of Professor J. Martin Bollinger, Jr. and Professor Carsten Krebs, studying the mechanisms of non-heme diiron oxidases and oxygenases in biofuel production and microbial organophosphonate degradation. Dr. Rajakovich is currently a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow of the Helen Hay Whitney Foundation with Professor Emily P. Balskus in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. Her research focuses on the metabolism of dietary nutrients associated with cardiovascular disease by the human gut microbiota.
Dr. Rajakovich will launch her research program at the University of Washington in January 2022. Her independent program will focus on the discovery and characterization of novel microbial metabolic functions and enzymes that impact human health and the environment. Her group will integrate approaches in bio(in)organic chemistry, chemical biology, enzymology, microbiology, and bioinformatics to study chemistry in host-associated microbiomes such as the human body. Her research will illuminate the influence of microbes on the natural world and will enable the use or manipulation of microbes and their enzymes for biocatalysis, synthetic and environmental biology, and therapeutics.