April 28, 2016
Congratulations to Shasha Li, winner of the 2016 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship.

Shasha Li has been awarded has been awarded the 2016 Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. Ms. Li is pursuing her PhD in medicinal chemistry under the supervision of David H. Sherman, PhD, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education and Hans W. Vahlteich Professor of Medicinal Chemistry. The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship supports exceptional doctoral candidates who are actively working on their dissertation research and writing. The Fellowship acknowledges students who have taken a risk and are working on particularly creative or ambitious dissertations. This competitive fellowship provides the winner with a stipend of $32,000, candidacy tuition, and required fees for twelve months.

Ms. Li’s thesis project, Hapalindole-type Alkaloids from Cyanobacteria: Characterization of Biosynthetic Pathway for Drug Discovery, is focused on biosynthesis exploration of hapalindole-type alkaloids, a fascinating series of natural products from cyanobacteria. This study will not only fill the knowledge gap in hapalindole origins, but also provide a novel class of pharmaceutical promising compounds in drug development for infectious diseases and cancer.

Ms. Li joined the Interdisciplinary Program in Medicinal Chemistry in the 2012 fall term. She received a BS and MS from Peking University, a top Chinese institution. During her MS research, she published one first author paper. Based on her extraordinary merits, Ms. Li was the only international student admitted to the program that year.

“Shasha represents one of the strongest PhD students that I have had for a number of years, and her promise is already yielding great success in her scholarly and research activities,” notes Dr. Sherman. “Shasha has remarkable energy, intelligence, curiosity, and sustained drive as a fourth year PhD student. This is an attribute that I have seen in only a very limited percentage of my students at such an early stage. I expect she will transform these wonderful characteristics into several additional high impact publications and a wonderful PhD dissertation,” continues Dr. Sherman. “Ms. Li is an exceptional selection for a Rackham predoctoral fellowship. She will complete a wonderful dissertation and move on to a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship position as she prepares for a brilliant independent career.”