Jean Chung receives NSF CAREER award to study proteins on cell membranes

Jean Chung, assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry, has received a Faculty Early Career Development Program award from the National Science Foundation to support her investigation of molecular interactions on the surfaces of cells, where many critical life processes take place.  

Jean Chung, assistant professor of chemistry at CSU
Jean Chung, assistant professor of chemistry

The five-year, approximately $787,000 grant will allow Chung’s team to develop a technology that elucidates the assembly of proteins on cell membranes – notoriously delicate and difficult to study, and which Chung likens to soap bubbles. The team will employ a model system called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase, an important enzyme involved in the development of the immune system’s B cells.  

Along with the research, the grant award contains an education plan to bring the concepts of microscopy and single-molecule imaging to the general public in collaboration with CSU’s new Spur campus in Denver.  

The NSF CAREER award supports early-career faculty who “have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization.” Chung is also the recent recipient of a National Institutes of Health Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award.