Anna Crysler, ’22, Wins National Biochemistry Research Award

July 16, 2021

Anna Crysler, Albion College Class of 2022

Anna Crysler is a senior biochemistry major with a minor in applied mathematics and a concentration in public health. A member of the Lisa and James Wilson Institute for Medicine and Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, she is the child of Doug and Kristy Crysler of Rockford, Mich., and a graduate of Rockford High School.

By Jake Weber

It’s been two years since Anna Crysler, ’22, walked into Dr. Craig Streu’s chemistry lab. With her eyes on a career in medicine, she thought a little research experience might help her application to medical school.

Crysler is still on the “Streu Crew”—and is also one of just 12 students nationwide to win a 2021 Undergraduate Research Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

“I was pretty surprised that I had been chosen since this was on a national level, but proud of myself for getting recognized for working hard towards research,” Crysler says. “Being in the lab is my favorite part of my school day. Finding out about the award at the end of last semester felt like the perfect way to wrap up my junior year.”

Crysler is spending this summer in the labs of both Streu and his Chemistry faculty colleague Dr. Christopher Rohlman. Her work is supported by Albion’s Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity. She will use the ASBMB award this fall to purchase sterile equipment, antibiotics, magnetic beads and other supplies.

Crysler’s research is focused on creating new types of antibiotics through “directed evolution”—a way of speeding up the process of selecting and producing the strongest and most effective antibodies. “Antibiotics usually take years to develop, and with the rapid rise of antimicrobial resistance globally, we need a quick way to create new drugs that are effective against drug-resistant pathogens,” she explains.

And while she once planned to write prescriptions for patients needing antibiotics, Crysler now knows her future lies in developing the latest generation of prescription drugs.

From the beginning, she says, “I really enjoyed coming up with new ideas and problems to solve. Throughout my time on this project I’ve learned that research is about trying new things, learning from them, and applying this knowledge to tackle new challenges.”