Researcher of the Year Laura Sanchez

Laura Sanchez
Laura Sanchez (Photo: Jenny Fontaine)

Laura Sanchez
Rising Star, Basic Life Sciences
Assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences

Years at UIC: 4

What are your research interests? 
I am interested in studying how microbes and cells utilize chemistry to interact with one another and their surroundings.

How did you become interested in these topics?
I am a marine natural product chemist by training and used an advanced analytical technique termed mass spectrometry during my postdoctoral fellowship. We now combine elements of both of these to identify and elucidate the chemist in complex biological matrices like cheese rinds, the ovarian microenvironment and different host organs.

What do you teach?  
I teach functional groups in the Pharmacy curriculum in Fundamentals of Drug Action I, and in the graduate curriculum, I teach in Spectroscopy in Medicinal Chemistry and Research Techniques in Pharmacognosy.

What’s your advice to students who want to focus their future careers on research?
Someone once told me they would keep doing research until they didn’t enjoy it anymore. I feel the same way — you should do what makes you happy, and it is a privilege to be the first in the world to know something is true in the lab before anyone else.

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