Joshua Robinson, McNair Scholar

The Baylor University Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry is very proud to spotlight Joshua Robinson, a Senior McNair Scholar from Memphis, Tennessee. Joshua is graduating in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and minor concentrations in Biology and Leadership Studies.

Joshua is a President’s Gold Scholar, the current Baylor Undergraduate MiniPharma Synthesis Group Leader and MiniPharma Team Leader. Additionally, Joshua serves as the Secretary of the Baylor Chapter of the American Chemical Society, and he completed summer undergraduate internships in the Baylor Transdisciplinary Research Undergraduate Experience (B-TRUE) Summer Fellows Program and in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at UT Southwestern. Furthermore, Joshua has presented his research twice at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).

When Joshua was selected for the McNair Program in 2018, he asked Dr. Daniel Romo, the BU Schotts Professor of Chemistry, to serve as his mentor. Joshua was interested in synthesis for biological application and was afforded the opportunity to conduct research in the Romo Group during the summer between his Sophomore and Junior year. In the last two years, he worked in the Romo Lab and Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Synthesis and Drug-Lead Discovery Lab on two projects focused on the total synthesis of derivatives of natural products: 1) Agelastatin A and 2) Gracillin A.

During the summer of 2019, Joshua conducted research on a chemoenzymatic synthesis project under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Kohler in the UT Southwestern Department of Biochemistry. Joshua said, “It was an extensive exposure to biological research, and I found it fascinating that I could apply my synthetic background to such a biological project.” He felt great satisfaction in being able to contribute a different perspective (organic synthesis) to the project. He was introduced to other types of syntheses (proteins and enzymes) and the intersection of chemistry and biology.

When asked about his approach to undergraduate research, Joshua said “I kept an open mind and sought a means to see what I could do in graduate school as opposed to what I would do in graduate school.” He also stressed the importance of networking with students outside of Chemistry & Biochemistry, specifically with Biology and Business majors.

Joshua is not only interested in the sciences, but he is also an avid BU sports fan and played the mellophone as a member of the Baylor University Golden Wave Marching Band his Freshman year. He participates in the Baylor Peer Leadership Program in the Health and Wellness Division, training students and faculty to run 5K races and in the Baylor Public Deliberation Initiative.

Joshua recently accepted an offer from the UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Studies Biological Chemistry Program. He’s interested in the intersection of chemistry and biology, specifically the synthesis and functions of proteins and enzymes.

Joshua said that he “works hard to please God…and if He is pleased with me, I am satisfied. God puts powerful allies in each Christian’s corner.”