Chemistry Graduate Student Alexxandra Sosa Guir describes her research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.
Alexxandra Sosa Guir, a second year graduate student from Boston, completed her undergraduate studies at Tufts University. There, Alexx worked in Professor Rebecca Scheck’s lab before joining the Kiessling Group at MIT, where she works to combat infectious diseases by utilizing the knowledge of microbial glycan interactions with lectins. Alexx and her fellow researchers aim to develop lectin-drug conjugates to fight the rise of antibiotic resistance.
“I chose to pursue a PhD in chemistry because there is so much out there that is unknown and confusing,” said Alexx. “A PhD challenges us to ask those questions and opens new fields of thought.”
As the subject of this Graduate Student Spotlight, Alexx shares the thing she finds most mind-bending, the fragrance she’d choose for a never-ending scented candle, the skill she’d like to master, and more!
- What is special about the place you grew up?
There is so many opportunities in Boston from museums to gardens to restaurants. It’s endless. Moreover, the harbor is nearby so going out to the islands can be a fun trip.
- If you could pick any career other than the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
I would have majored in archaeology or STS (science, technology, and society). I think it is important as a scientist to learn about how science affects society and how society interacts with science. Moreover, it also interests me how medicine and scientific advancement has evolved over time.
- What bends your mind every time you think about it?
We are multicellular organisms; there is much happening behind the scenes that we are not privy to. Our cells communicate with one another and regulate themselves without our knowledge. They fight intruders and germs that we are not even aware of. It is amazing what goes into making us and any organism alive.
- Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My mom. She has done so much for my brother and me, and I would not be where I am without her.
- What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
I went to Rome and got to see the monuments and the colosseum. I went during a heat wave, so I spent most of the trip trying to stay cool, but it was honestly so beautiful. If you ever go, remember to stay hydrated.
- Where was the most amazing sunset you have ever seen?
I was on a cruise. Here are photos!
- What is on your bucket list?
I would love to see the northern lights.
- If you could have a never-ending candle that smelled like anything you wanted, what fragrance would you want it to be?
Pomegranates! Or lavender.
- What inconsequential superpower would you like to have?
To teleport from one side of MIT’s infinite corridor to the other. It will save me so much time.
- Who would be the best person you could be stuck in an elevator with?
Anyone, I am terrified of getting stuck in an elevator. I try not to get on an elevator alone.
- What invention doesn’t get a lot of love, but has greatly improved the world?
The toilet!! Running water is so important.
- What bit of trivia do you know that is very interesting but also very useless?
Ovid’s story about Pyramus and Thisbe inspired Romeo and Juliet.
- What’s the funniest TV show you’ve ever seen?
I am currently obsessed with Community.
- What’s the most interesting documentary you’ve ever watched?
David Attenborough’s nature documentaries are interesting to watch. He is the best narrator.
- What would be the best thing you could reasonably expect to find in a cave?
The exit. No, it would be eerily beautiful to see a lake in a cave.
- What are some small things that make your day better?
Some chai, a walk along the Charles, water.
- An epic feast is held in your honor, what’s on the table?
Tamales. Carne asada con chimol. Lots and lots of fruit, including grapes and brie.
- What skill would you like to master?
Crocheting. It is so cool to be able to make stuff (sweaters, bags, stuffed animals) out of just yarn.
- What are your top three favorite movies?
Lost (TV show), The Lord of the Rings, and Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse.
- What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
To spend it with friends and family, relaxing and catching up on our week.
Many thanks to Alexx for these thoughtful answers. Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights to come!