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Kendra Frederick, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Biophysics, Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Lupe Murchison Foundation Scholar in Medical Research
Kendra King Frederick
“Data don’t lie.”

Contributions to STEMM

Dr. Frederick is a biophysicist at UT Southwestern. Her research in the Frederick lab focuses on “the misfolded proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases, which can adopt a variety of different conformations, some of which are toxic. Because these proteins have identical amino acid sequences, the cellular environment clearly influences the final state; yet most structural studies do not include the cellular context,” she said. “Perhaps because we are not studying the correct conformation, not a single therapeutic strategy for these diseases addresses the underlying protein misfolding pathology.”

With this in mind, “using new sensitivity-enhancement technology for solid-state NMR spectroscopy, we will study protein structure in native environments – inside living cells – to reveal how both healthy and disease-relevant cellular environments influence protein structure,” at the Center for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Early Influences

While Dr. Frederick is laser-focused on her research today, her path to science was not always so clear. “I always enjoyed school and did well but didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to do,” she said. “My junior year in college, I did an undergraduate research project in a research lab and really found my place.

"If you can, explore options and focus on an area you enjoy. No career is without frustration, so doing work you find rewarding can help sustain you.”

The UT Southwestern Difference

“Together with a group of smart people who have different skills but are all interested in similar things, we figure out everything that is known about a topic until we get to the point where no one knows the answer,” she said of the collegiality at UT Southwestern. “Then we figure out the answer, and once we do we tell everyone we know about what we found out. It is really fun!”

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