Graduate Member Spotlight: Amy Zheng

Graduate Member Spotlight

Amy Zheng


Chemical Engineering

Expected Graduation Date: 2021

Vanderbilt University

        This year, we are excited to have Amy Zheng serve as our Development Mentoring Coordinator, where she will provide content for our mentoring teams so they remain engaged throughout the year. Amy has held several leadership positions in SWE prior to joining the GradSWE team. As an undergraduate student, she was President of the University of Kansas section. For three years, she served as the Graduate Student Coordinator at University of Kansas, building the bridge between undergraduate and graduate students at her campus. As Graduate Student Coordinator, Amy established an annual seminar where faculty and graduate students could advertise their research opportunities to undergrads. She attended the SWE Region I conference in 2013 and the annual SWE conferences in 2015 and 2016.


Outside of SWE, Amy is the social chair of the Chemical Engineering Graduate Student Association. In this position, Amy plans monthly departmental happy hours and organizes the recruitment weekend activities for prospective Ph.D. students. Amy is also passionate about spreading her love of science. She has volunteered at several organizations around the Vanderbilt campus to teach public school students about engineering and science.


Thesis Title: Genome-Scale Optimization of Energy Flux through Compartmentalized Metabolic Networks in a Model Photosynthetic Eukaryotic Microbe


The goal of Amy’s work is to optimize the production of biofuel in diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum (Pt) by using metabolic flux analysis. Metabolic flux analysis is a tool that combines experimental and computational methods to understand the metabolism of an organism. By applying this tool to Pt, Amy is able to identify enzymes that can be deleted or overexpressed to increase biofuel production. This year, Amy’s work was recognized and she won a travel award for the International Society of Photosynthetic Research (ISPR) meeting. After graduating, Amy plans to pursue a job in research, and is open to both academia and industry.


        Outside of work, Amy enjoys cooking and traveling. She is currently trying to master eggs benedict.  Amy also enjoys doing zumba!

Fun Fact from Amy: Amy can do a split!



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