Congratulations to Dr. Krista G. Freeman on the successful defense of her PhD thesis in physics, "Viral DNA Retention and Ejection Controlled by Capsid Stability," advisor Dr. Alex Evilevitch at Carnegie Mellon University.
Krista was a CSU physics major (BS honors physics 2011), CSU valedictorian (2011), SPS president (2008-2011), creator of and active participant in SPS Physics Fridays at CIS (2011-present), undergraduate teaching assistant (2008-2011), undergraduate researcher in Dr. Streletzky's lab (2008-2011), and CSU distinguished alumna (2016).
After graduating from CSU, Krista continued her physics studies at Carnegie Mellon University, where she earned an MS in physics in 2014 before dedicating herself full-time to completing her doctoral research. Krista's research field is experimental biophysics, with a focus on the mechanical and kinetic aspects of the viral lifecycle. She was able to pursue this interdisciplinary research thanks to a three-year graduate research fellowship, awarded to her in 2013 by the National Science Foundation. In 2014, Krista completed her first international research trip to Lund University in Sweden. The data collected in this two-month visit, along with data collected in collaboration with Dr. Streletzky at CSU, generated her first peer-reviewed first author publication! In 2015, she was elected to serve a three-year term on the chair-track for the American Physical Society's Forum on Graduate Student Affairs. This demonstrated scientific leadership, coupled with her achievements in research and scientific communication, resulted in an invitation to the 2015 Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany. 2016 brought even more international research travel, as Krista completed successful neutron scattering beamtimes at both Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland) and Institute Laue-Langevin (France). All of this research culminated in a successfully defended doctoral thesis
on May 18, 2017. Krista will spend the summer teaching physics courses at Carnegie Mellon University, then move to a postdoctoral research position in the Fall to continue exploring biophysics.