Elena Schroeter, a postdoctoral researcher in the NC State Department of Biological Sciences, was recently awarded a prestigious Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship. Schroeter was one of only 20 recipients nationwide.
Schroeter has been at NC State since 2014, after receiving her Ph.D. in biology from Drexel University. She works in the molecular paleontology lab of Mary Schweitzer on the preservation and recovery of original organic remains in ancient fossils, including the bones of dinosaurs. Schweitzer’s lab focuses on protein identification, recovery and sequencing as a way to learn more about the evolutionary origins of extinct life.
“I have been telling everyone who would listen that I would be a paleontologist since I was in third grade,” Schroeter said. “I never thought I’d become a molecular paleontologist, but the field excites me because it’s so new and there’s so much to explore and discover.”
Schroeter will be using the fellowship support to continue and expand her research characterizing bone proteins to multiple specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex dinosaurs. The findings may help settle questions about the dinosaur’s evolution and biology, as well as how these organic molecules have persisted over millions of years.
“Being awarded the Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship represents an enormous and uncommon opportunity for me to conduct truly groundbreaking research on ancient, extinct life,” Schroeter said. “With this support, I can investigate questions we never thought we’d get to ask.”
The Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellows Award Program supports postdoctoral scholars with the highest potential for success in an independent academic career in chemistry and the life sciences to assist in their transition from postdoctoral projects to an independent, tenure-track position. These scholars are expected to become the next generation of leaders and innovators in science, engineering and technology.