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Graduate Students Take Summer Internships in Industry

Basil Nikolau, Naazneen Sofeo and Liza Alexander
[Photo left to right:  Basil Nikolau, Naazneen Sofeo and Liza Alexander]

Liza Alexander, a Ph.D. candidate in MCDB, and Naazneen Sofeo, a Ph.D. candidate in Biochemistry, both graduate students in Professor Basil Nikolau’s research group, are headed off to internships in industry for the summer.  Liza will be an intern with Dr. Antony Kinney, Research Director of Corteva Agriscience (formerly DuPont Pioneer) in Johnston, Iowa, to work on metabolic engineering to improve soybean composition.  Naazneen will be an intern with REG Life Sciences in San Francisco, California, a subsidiary of Renewable Energy Group, the country’s leading producer and distributor of advanced biofuels.  REG Life Sciences is a R&D company focused on harnessing the power of industrial biotechnology to develop technologies that produce drop-in renewable alternatives to petroleum-based chemicals, fuels and other products.  She will be working with the team of Dr. Andreas Schirmer in the division of Pathway Engineering.

Supplemental funding for the NSF INTERN program was awarded to Professor Nikolau as part of his NSF CBiRC grant.  He approached DuPont Pioneer and REG Life Sciences for the internships, and assembled the NSF INTERN applications to integrate each company’s interests with those of the students and CBiRC.  For more information about the Non-Academic Research Internships for Graduate Students (INTERN) Supplemental Funding, visit