Constance (Connie) Jeffrey is a X-ray Crystallographer

Constance (Connie) Jeffrey grew up in a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. She obtained her B.S. degree in Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and continued her studies to obtain a Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. Because Connie wanted to understand proteins (tiny machines that perform many kinds of functions in the body) at the molecular level, she decided she needed to learn the method of X-ray crystallography. X-ray crystallography is very useful because we can use it to study proteins of many different sizes and types. We can also see the structure of these proteins at high resolution (high detail) – we can see how all the atoms fit together to make up one protein and how the proteins interact with other molecules. Connie did postdoctoral research at Brandeis University where she worked on determining the structure of a protein that has two very different functions, just like if a person has one job during the week and has a second job or “moonlights” in the evenings, so she coined the term “moonlighting proteins” and wrote a key paper in the field. Connie joined the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1999. Her lab still uses X-ray crystallography today!

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