Orange Alert

Daylong Symposium to Highlight Life Sciences Research Nov. 3

Annual Meredith Symposium will celebrate work by women, first-generation undergraduates

Oct. 24, 2018, by Robert M Enslin

Meredith Professor Robert Doyle
Meredith Professor Robert Doyle

Undergraduate research in the life sciences is the focus of a daylong symposium in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S).

On Saturday, Nov. 3, A&S will host the third annual Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences. The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Breed Lecture Hall (105) in the Life Sciences Complex from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The program includes two keynote lectures and eight student presentations.

For more information, contact Robert Doyle, Meredith Professor of Teaching Excellence in Chemistry, at 315.443.3584 or, or visit

The purpose of the symposium is to highlight women and first-generation undergraduates in the life sciences.

“As a former first-generation student, I understand the challenges—professional, academic, financial and psychological—many undergraduates face,” says Doyle, an expert in medicinal chemistry who joined the A&S faculty in 2005. “The Meredith Symposium promotes the development of first-generation and women students who want to enter or advance in the field of scientific research. Emphasis is on preparing them for conference participation at the national level.” This year’s keynote speakers are Elizabeth Dempsey G’09 and Susan Clardy ’08, G’12, who will present at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., respectively.

Elizabeth Dempsey G'09
Elizabeth Dempsey G'09

A Ph.D. candidate in biochemistry and molecular biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania, Dempsey will deliver the symposium’s annual alumni address. Her presentation will touch on her time at SU, where she was a Syracuse University Scholar and member of The Renée Crown University Honors Program. Following a research stint at Johns Hopkins University, Dempsey enrolled in Penn’s top-ranked Perelman School of Medicine.

“My work involves the synthesis and in vivo testing of novel nanomaterials for cancer imaging and treatment,” says Dempsey, who majored in biochemistry in A&S and applied music and performance (voice) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. “I also am in the Penn Graduate Training in Medical Science Certificate Program, whose curriculum integrates focused medical education into the doctoral curriculum and experience.”

Clardy will deliver the annual graduate alumni address. An analytical chemist at Boston-based Mersana Therapeutics, she helps advance promising or novel cancer therapies from research to clinical trials. Like Dempsey, Clardy attributes much of her success to working under Doyle.

Susan Clardy '08, G'12
Susan Clardy '08, G'12

“My research at Syracuse established the viability of vitamin B12 for the oral delivery of peptides and proteins,” says Clardy, who has more than a decade’s experience in laboratory research and scientific writing. “It laid the groundwork for what I do today with polymer-based antibody drug conjugates [a class of potent biopharmaceutical drugs intended to target and kill cancer cells].”

A former first-generation student, Clardy also has been a senior scientist at SeLux Diagnostics and a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. At SU, she earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a Ph.D. in chemistry.

The Meredith Symposium includes eight, 25-minute presentations by students who have completed at least one semester of research and belong to or are eligible for participation in the McNair Scholars Program or the Women in Science and Engineering Program. All of the presenters are competing for two $2,500 Meredith Scholar awards, supporting conference travel and presentation.

The symposium is made possible by a bequest from the estate of L. Douglas Meredith ’26, which, in turn, underwrites the campuswide Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorships. Additional support comes from the Office of the Provost, the Department of Chemistry and the Central New York Section of the American Chemical Society.

Doyle has used monies from his three-year Meredith Professorship to create the eponymously named symposium. His goal is to secure at least $10,000 to make the Meredith Symposium a sustainable annual event.

“I want to encourage, engage and support women and first-generation undergraduates interested in the physical and life sciences,” says Doyle, the chemistry department’s associate chair and director of graduate studies, as well as an associate professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “Such advocacy provides these groups a potential path to economic success. It also is crucial to our nation’s innovative capacity and global competitiveness.”


Robert Doyle Jack and Laura H. Milton Professor and Dean's Professor of Chemistry

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Robert M Enslin