Amanda Senanayake, of Brookfield, has been interested in science and medicine for as long as she can remember. The Chase Collegiate senior has spent her high school years exploring various career options related to her interests in competitive internship programs. Most recently, she took part in a six-week summer program at Yale University in the Chemistry Department, where she studied vancomycin, an “antibiotic drug of last resort.”
Explains Senanayake, “Currently, there has been a larger bacterial resistance to this drug. Therefore, an unmet need exists to discover new analogs of the current structure of vancomycin. My research was centered on the synthesis of peptides to be used in the bromination of vancomycin for analog synthesis.”
The other half of this ambitious senior’s summer was spent at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals (BIPI) in the Biotherapeutics Department. For five weeks, Senanayake worked toward the development of biological drugs that are generated from living organisms. Their products are used in the prevention and treatments of a variety of diseases, including cancers and viruses such as HIV/AIDS.
“During my internship I learned many fundamental techniques that are applied to cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology. It was a great pleasure to interact with these talented and prestigious scientists in the Biotherapeutics Department,”says the Brookfield resident.