February 18, 2005

Doctoral student wins prestigious honor

by Katharine Quaranta

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Songwen Xie, a graduate student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, is one of only a handful of graduate students nationwide to win a prestigious award.

A fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, she is one of only five graduate students or postdoctoral fellows to win an American Chemical Society Division of Organic Chemistry Travel Award.

Xie's research involves the discovery of a compound that may one day help treat prostate and breast cancer as well as aid weight loss. Xie is working with the Meyers Institute for Interdisciplinary Research in Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, which is under the direction of Cal Y. Meyers, distinguished professor emeritus. The institute allows faculty and graduate students to undertake research that spans scientific disciplines.

Xie received $600 to help cover the expenses associated with attending the ACS National Meeting in San Diego, Calif., March 13-17. While there, she will present her paper, written in conjunction with Meyers and Professor Yuqing Hou, the associate director of the Meyers Institute, to colleagues from around the country.

"This award not only belongs to me, but also to my advisor, Professor Cal Meyers, to our Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and to our school," Xie said. "I did not expect to get it when I applied, but the good results demonstrate that the students and the research here at SIUC are competitive."

Xie submitted an abstract of her work to the ACS as well as a resume and two letters of recommendation.

Achieving excellence in graduate and professional programs is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, a long-range blueprint the university is following as it approaches its 150th anniversary in 2019.