Elizabeth Dietrich, from Crown Point, Indiana, has a double major in computer science and mathematics. She knows exactly where her passion lies: “I’m most interested in biological systems that aren’t easily amenable to experimentation, to gain a better understanding of how to combat human disease.” Beginning the summer before her freshman year, she has worked in several labs at IU, including a computational cancer lab that now works on a COVID-19 model.
2020 Goldwater Scholar: Elizabeth Dietrich
Currently Dietrich works with physics professor Sima Setayeshgar to look at proteins inside a bacterial cell. “We create computer models so that we can run simulations very fast to see how proteins are located inside the cell,” she explains. “I mostly work directly with Professor Setayeshgar. It’s great.” The research involves partial differential equations as well as computer models, so it combines both of Dietrich’s interests.
Setayeshgar says that Dietrich’s project lies at the intersection of physics and applied mathematics. And she adds that “Liz was not intimidated by the fact that she had to venture outside of her comfort zone when it came to learning about the underlying biochemistry.”
Like the other Goldwater scholarship recipients, Dietrich hopes one day to teach at a university and to lead her own research team. Her next step will be earning a Ph.D. in applied mathematics.
Liz was not intimidated by the fact that she had to venture outside of her comfort zone when it came to learning about the underlying biochemistry.Sima Setayeshgar, professor of Biophysics