Arabella Dill-Macky '23

IIP Newsletter Spotlight

Major: Chemical and Biological Engineering
Internship site (in-country): Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland Brisbane, Australia
Tell us a little about your IIP: I am interning at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. I am one of the fortunate few IIP students who can work in-country this summer due to my Australian citizenship and the lab-based nature of my project. I am working under the mentorship of a PhD student to synthesize a novel, selenium-based drug that is hypothesized to have strong antibiotic and antifungal activity. My day-to-day work consists of running chemical reactions, characterizing products through analysis of proton NMR, LC-MS, and TLC data, purifying products through columns, washes, and distillation techniques, and modifying synthesis plans when reactions don’t go quite as planned in theory! It has been very rewarding to work on the development of new antibiotics because the world is on the brink of a superbug pandemic that could eventually be even more catastrophic than COVID-19. The development and production of antibiotics is particularly difficult due to the unfavorable nature of the business market surrounding them. Research organizations like IMB’s CO-ADD (Community for Open Antimicrobial Drug Discovery) are the best hope we have in prolonging the devastation of antimicrobial resistance!
Do you have tips for future interns? Never let an opportunity slip you by – you will likely never have that chance again! Even if you’re feeling tired or overwhelmed in the moment, take advantage of every new experience offered to you. The photo I submitted is from a day trip to Binna Burra, a section of Lamington National Park just outside of Brisbane. I made my friends stop the car to get a picture by the signpost of the local town of Wonglepong – and I’m so glad that I did!
A unique hobby and a little bit about it: I love rock climbing!! The climbing community in Brisbane is huge and vibrant, just like the one on campus at Princeton. It’s really a sport for everyone – every body type has its own advantages and disadvantages that create unique solutions to tricky problems. 
IIP Summer Playlist song: Mulberry Street - twenty one pilots