Cheri Ackerman

Hertz Fellow: Cheri Ackerman
School

University of California, Berkeley

Area of Study

Chemistry

Fellowship Years

2012 - present

Cheri Ackerman is a PhD student in the Chemical Biology Graduate Program at UC Berkeley. Her decision to pursue a PhD was born and raised in her undergraduate research on systems biology and protein trafficking as a Beckman and Goldwater Scholar at Calvin College, Michigan. Cheri graduated from Calvin, with honors, in biochemistry, a second major in Spanish, and a fascination for the complexity of biology.

Her current work explores the role of redox-active metal ions in biological systems. Specifically, she is developing proteomic methods for discovering new metal-binding proteins. This is particularly challenging because metals do not bind to proteins covalently, but rather coordinate to proteins; thus, metal-protein complexes fall apart during analysis. Cheri’s work has been to implement small molecules that bind covalently to proteins based on the presence or absence of the metal of interest, creating a permanent memory of the metalation state of the protein, which can later be analyzed by mass spectrometry. Additionally, Cheri creates and analyzes transgenic zebrafish with altered metal metabolism.