Dr. Krystle J. McLaughlin is a proud Caribbean American, originally hailing from Tobago, the smaller "sister isle" in the twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
In 2006, Krystle earned her undergraduate degree in physics from Colgate University. At Colgate University, Krystle discovered two passions: teaching and scientific research. As a physics major, during her sophomore year she began tutoring younger physics students and found that she truly enjoyed helping them learn. Throughout her Colgate career, Krystle was able to be a teaching assistant and tutor several physics classes. Vibrant research experiences with Colgate professors cemented her interest in research.
At Colgate, Krystle also distinguished herself as a student leader in several groups including the Colgate Society of Physics Students (SPS) and the Caribbean Students Association. For several years, Krystle also served as an elected member on the SPS National Council and also on the American Institute of Physics' (AIP) Education Committee. This relationship with the SPS national office and the AIP continue today as Krystle is leading a partnership with the SPS to introduce an Undergraduate Research Symposium at the American Crystallographic Association annual meeting.
In August 2006, Krystle entered into the Biophysics PhD program at the University of Rochester. She joined Clara Kielkopf's lab for her doctoral work, which was focused on the structural and biophysical basis of protein-RNA interactions. Krystle had many successes during graduate school and won several awards including the William F. Neuman Award from the Biophysics program, which is given to one outstanding biophysics student each year and the university-wide Elon Huntington Hooker Fellowship in recognition for her research at the University of Rochester.
As a graduate student at the University of Rochester, Krystle continued to accept teaching opportunities while developing scientific research skills. In March 2010, Krystle was given to opportunity to be a guest lecturer in the Chemistry Department at Hampton University with advisement from Dr. Shanthi Paranawithana, a Kielkopf Lab alumna (right).
In summer 2011, Krystle successfully defended her thesis "Structural and Thermodynamic Analysis of Protein-Nucleic Acid Interactions" for her doctorate in biophysics; earning the George V. Metzger award from the Biophysics program for "the most outstanding PhD thesis in Biophysics".
Next, Krystle worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Krystle's research was funded in part by a prestigious SPIRE (Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education) postdoctoral fellowship. With a deep interest in both teaching and research, Krystle was excited to be a part of the SPIRE postdoctoral program which seeks " To provide multi-dimensional professional development for science researchers and educators to succeed in academic careers, to bring engaging teaching methods into the classroom, and to increase diversity in science professions." In Dr. Kielkopf's lab, Krystle cultivated a love of macromolecular x-ray crystallography which still continues today. At UNC she used x-ray crystallography to characterize several proteins responsible for the transfer of virulence and antibiotic resistance factors between bacterial cells in Dr. Matthew Redinbo's Lab.
As part of her SPIRE fellowship, Krystle had a year-long teaching placement at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke where she taught Principles of Biology and facilitated a new workshop for undergraduates to help prepare for research experiences discussing topics such as establishing and maintaining a positive relationship with your mentor, lab practices of an effective researcher, and developing strategies to overcome challenges in lab.
Currently, Krystle is a Professor of Practice in the Department of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University, where she teaches several biology courses (see Teaching) and maintains an undergraduate research lab (see Research).
Outside of lab, Krystle's interests include reading, cooking and spending time with her husband Matt and their energetic dog Emmy Rosalind Franklin. Krystle also loves to sing as well as play the steeldrum. During graduate school she was a member of an all biophysicst rock band with her fellow graduate students. She was also a part-time member of the Alfred St. John's Trinidad and Tobago SteelBand, where she played the double tenor, and appeared on the band's 2009 Christmas album: Caribbean Christmas Carnival. Her latest project is learning to play the guitar.