Rosana Molina

Speaker: Rosana Molina, doctoral student, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Montana State University

Date: Thursday, March 26, 2020
Time: 3:10 PM
Place: Byker Auditorium, Chemistry & Biochemistry Building
Title: Making Proteins Glow Brighter for Neuroscience

The lecture will be followed by a reception.


In the mid 1990s, scientists established a new technique to image the intricacies of the living brain. This technique is called two-photon laser scanning microscopy. It involves using a high-powered near-infrared laser to make fluorescent markers glow. Molina studies a type of genetically-encoded fluorescent marker called a fluorescent protein, with the goal to make it brighter for this technique. To do this, she employs a method that nature uses to make the lightest wings and the fastest limbs: evolution. She grows many fluorescent protein mutants in E. coli and uses a custom two-photon robot to measure them and select for the brightest ones. With brighter fluorescent proteins, neuroscientists can get more information about how the brain works and eventually uncover ways to prevent and treat disease. 

Rosana Molina is the recipient of a 2019 Kopriva Graduate Fellowship.

Molina’s lecture is presented by the Kopriva Science Seminar Series, which is funded through an endowment created by Phil Kopriva, a 1957 microbiology graduate from MSU. Kopriva, who died in 2002, also created an endowment to fund the Kopriva Graduate Fellowship Program, which provides support and opportunities for graduate students in the College of Letters and Science, particularly in the biomedical sciences. The series features seminars by MSU graduate students, faculty members and guest speakers.