Research Drives Anna Krieger ’17 to Awards, Grad School

Hands-on research as a first-year student laid the foundation for Anna Krieger's path to grad school, with a few awards along the way...
Posted on May 3rd, 2017 by

Gustavus Adolphus College student Anna Krieger ‘17 was recently named a recipient of the Eli Lilly Women Chemists Committee (WCC) Travel Award and presented her research at the annual American Chemical Society (ACS) National Meeting in San Francisco, California.

She is one of ten recipients selected from female chemistry students in graduate and undergraduate programs across the nation. The prestigious award funds the students’ complete travel expenses to visit the ACS conference, one of the largest professional scientific meetings in the world with over 18,000 attendees. During the conference, the awardees were also invited to several networking events and WCC-specific poster presentations.

Anna Krieger ’17

“Anna is self motivated and that is what makes her shine. She has the interest, the intellect, the ability, and the passion, but she sets herself apart from others with her drive,” said Gustavus chemistry professor Brandy Russell. “As a strong female student at her first national conference, this award is a testament to not only her skills, but it also honors her determination.”

Working alongside Russell in a bioinorganic laboratory, Krieger’s research focuses on characterizing metal binding in metalloproteins. The proteins, isolated from a marine worm found in polluted estuaries in France, exhibit different metal binding specificities in vivo despite similar amino acid sequences. With the potential for similar metalloproteins to be used in ecological and biomedical applications, her work has significant long term effects.

Presenting these findings at the national meeting is an important step in the path of a chemist, and one Krieger has been working towards since her first year in the Gustavus chemistry department. Her research experience began in a 2014 January Interim Experience research methods course and an independent study the same spring. Identified as a strong student, Krieger was selected to join the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program in the summer of 2014. During this opportunity, she was first introduced to metal-binding proteins and Russell’s research. The following year, Krieger was honored as the inaugural winner of the Anderson Summer Scholar Research Fellowship, where she was paired with Russell for the summer of 2015 to continue their work. Last summer, Krieger was offered an opportunity to take her research away from the Gustavus campus. Funded by the National Science Foundation and Lando Program, she conducted research in the University of Minnesota chemistry department.

“I genuinely appreciate every single one of the professors in the chemistry program. They have given me so many opportunities, and I would not have been able to accept this award or present at this conference without them,” Krieger said. “I am very thankful for Brandy’s guidance. During my time in the sciences here, I have never felt that it was not my place as a woman to be a researcher and Brandy showed me endless support.”

Krieger’s success led her to apply to graduate school to pursue a doctorate in chemistry. She will continue her education at the University of Texas at Austin with a focus in analytical chemistry beginning this summer. In addition to her studies, she will be working in a laboratory that focuses on mass spectroscopy imaging of tissue samples to assist doctors and professionals as they make decisions about tumor and tissue treatments. Eventually, Krieger hopes to have a career in a hospital setting, somewhere she can use science to make a difference.

“As a department, we want our students to be involved in research and to be introduced to how science is done. We encourage and try to provide as many opportunities as possible for our first- and second-year students,” said Russell. “Anna embraced each opportunity head on and it has allowed her to build an expertise. I am very excited to see her go on to a great program at Austin. I would say I hope she finds herself prepared, but I know she will thrive.”

“I am so ready,” Krieger said. “It’s not always easy to find what people think of as a fun chemistry project, but I could not be more excited to begin this research at Austin. With these new techniques in studying tissues, the possibilities in the health field are endless. ”

To learn more about science at Gustavus, visit the College’s student research website.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin



  1. Heather Haemig says:

    Congrats, Anna!

  2. Jackie and -Alq says:

    Anna, we are very proud of you for this accomplishment. You are going to be very successful in your Chemistry career. Grandpa and I look forward to seeing you at your graduation. All we can say is “wow” Love from grandpa and grandma