Graduate Student Spotlight: Grace Russell

Danielle Randall
July 14, 2017

Originally from the Pittsburgh area of Pennsylvania, Grace Russell began doing research in the lab of Department Head and R.R. Taylor Professor Tim Jamison in 2013, two years before officially beginning her graduate career here at MIT. Since then, Grace has been investigating synthesis in continuous flow. She is primarily focused on Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), but has also investigated reactions not relating to the synthesis of targets. She has worked on continuous flow syntheses to rufinamide, an anticonvulsant, nicardipine, a blood pressure medication, and linezolid, an antibiotic. Through API synthesis, Grace hopes to assist in illustrating the potentials for continuous processing, and some of the numerous advantages of flow chemistry versus batch processes.

1. If you could spend a month in any time period, which one would it be and why?
The future – as a female there is no time period in the past I would like to visit.

2. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Prestige.

3. What is on your bucket list?
The top of the list is probably to climb the big wall at Yosemite.

4. What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?
Social media.

5.  Why did you decide to do the work you are doing now?
I decided to be a synthetic organic chemist because I love the true scientific nature of the work.

6. If you could bring back one TV show that was cancelled, which one would you bring back?
House.

7.  What news story or historic event have you found to be the most riveting?
I am probably the most riveted by the current heroin epidemic and why it is happening right now.

8. What was your first job, ever?
I was a waitress at a diner in my home town.

9. Which two celebrities would you choose to be your parents?
Not sure if they count as celebrities but they are celebrities to me- Marie Curie and Adam Ondra.

10. What never fails to make you laugh?
My cats.

11. What non-horror movie do you find scary?
Twilight.

12. Would you rather have an unlimited international first class ticket or never have to pay for food at restaurants?
Probably the free food.

13. What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Cave diving.

14. What bit of trivia do you know that is very interesting, but also very useless?
That cats can sweat through their paws.

15. What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?
Dracula (the book).

16. Where is the most awe-inspiring place that you’ve been?
Franconia Ridge on Thanksgiving Day, 2015.

17. Who, besides your parents, has had the greatest impact on your life?
My Aunt Andrea.

18. What was your favorite book as a child, and what is your favorite book now?
As a child my favorite book was Red Wall and now it is probably Dracula.

19. What unsolved mystery would you most like to know the answer to?
The meaning of life?

20. If you could pick any career other than the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
Before I found organic chemistry I wanted to be a Patent lawyer.