Spotlight on Victoria Lim, NSF Graduate Research Fellow

Spotlight on Victoria Lim

NSF Graduate Research Fellow
Mobley Lab

Tell us about the research you are currently working on.

Proteins are tiny molecular machines in our body that are responsible for almost everything we do. When they malfunction, this can lead to diseases. I study a protein called Hv1, whose main role is to selectively allow protons to leave the cell. Hv1 overactivity is linked to maladies such as breast cancer metastasis. My goal is to understand and optimize how small molecules bind to Hv1, thus modulating its function and activity. This could someday be used to treat Hv1-related diseases.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment.

One of my recent accomplishments was being awarded the best talk in a competition of graduate students presenting our research to a general audience. A panel of judges evaluated us on how well we communicated our broader impacts, how well we engaged the audience, and how well our presentation was organized. Science communication is something I find important, not only to clearly and appropriately explain the research itself, but also to effectively and accurately engage the public with new information.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

One of my favorite parts about my research is writing code to accomplish some large-scale task. For example, I might write a Python script to organize, set up, and analyze calculations for millions of small molecules. I’m a big fan of efficiency in everyday life, and I see programming as a fun puzzle to make some process both swift and reproducible.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

One of my favorite quotes is: “If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quit” (Banksy); I think that’s true for any profession, and is true for research especially. Perseverance goes a long way.