Mary Kate Fisher, a recent graduate of ASU and former research student in Dr. Stephens’
lab, is a co-author on a paper that was just published in the journal Parasitology.
While enrolled in CHEM4990, Mary Kate synthesized a compound, later named DB1867,
which was subsequently shown by collaborators in Brazil to have outstanding activity
against Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan that causes a potentially deadly disease in
Central and South America known as Chagas disease. This research was part of an ongoing
effort to develop a new drug for Chagas disease since the currently used drugs have
only limit effects, especially against the advance stages of the parasitic infection.
Mary Kate, who is now enrolled in the Physician Assistant Program at Georgia Health
Sciences University, made the following comments about her involvement in undergraduate
research at ASU:
It was a privilege to work independently with Dr. Stephens on his current research.
I know that many other universities would not have provided undergraduate students
with similar opportunities. It was interesting to see the basic principles from our
lab courses applied to collaborative pharmacological research. Although I felt like
I was in way over my head, it was a good challenge for me to struggle to understand
the methods and the amount of patience needed to obtain your end product. What a good
feeling it is to finally get there! My research experience was definitely an important
step for teaching me the basics of research and has helped me tremendously to understand
and apply clinical evidence based medicine. I hope other ASU students will take advantage
of such an invaluable opportunity.