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Preceptor in Molecular & Cellular Biology

Tsehai Grell

Preceptor in Molecular & Cellular Biology

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Growing up on the nature island of Caribbean, the Commonwealth of Dominica, gave me a great appreciation for nature and the beauty in life. It was this realization that although on the surface all appeared simple, there are many carefully crafted mechanisms that have to occur in order to keep organisms alive, which sparked my sparked my interest in science. I pursued Associate degrees in Biology, Chemistry and Physics at the Dominica state college. It was during this time I took a class called the ‘Applications of Chemistry’, which took the fundamental topics of chemistry and made them applicable. I was hooked!

After attaining a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Morgan State University, I went on to complete a PhD in Biological Chemistry at MIT in the lab of Catherine L. Drennan. My graduate research focused on the structural elucidation and biochemical investigation of metalloenzymes that utilize an oxygen-sensitive metal-cluster and a small biological molecule to initiate radical chemistry. Via harnessing the reactivity of radical chemistry, these enzymes are able to perform challenging chemical reactions involved in natural product biosynthesis, tRNA modifications and cofactor biosynthesis. My worked uncovered mechanistic details of the reactions that four of these enzymes catalyze through a series of snapshots of the enzymes in various substrate- and product-bound states.

As a preceptor, I am giving the opportunity to share my love for science and make it relatable. I will be working with MCB60, which combines the fundamental concepts and biomedical applications of Molecular and Cellular Biology.