Fund Aids Aspiring Physician’s On-Campus Research

Two years ago, biology major Jonathan Li ’16 arrived at DePauw sight unseen from his home in China.

He decided to attend DePauw for two major reasons: first, the University’s level of academic quality. He knew that as a DePauw student he could thrive, grow and be challenged in his studies. Second, DePauw made it possible for him to afford his education. Without the assistance provided by generous donors, Jonathan would have had to study elsewhere.

That generosity was especially pronounced during the summer between his sophomore and junior years, when Jonathan received assistance through the Elliott Morrill Scholarship Fund to conduct faculty-sponsored research on campus. Morrill was a successful textile chemist in Indianapolis. His widow, Juanita, established a fund in his name to support on-campus research by DePauw chemistry students.

Jonathan, along with another student, spent this past summer working with Bridget L. Gourley, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Their project, “Reverse Micelles as a Model System for Understanding Behavior at Interfaces,” studied how particles called micelles could be used to deliver drugs to specific cells while not harming other cells. As an aspiring physician, Jonathan learned more about this important subject, while practicing worthwhile skills in a laboratory setting.

The opportunity to study under the direction of a seasoned scientist and tenured faculty member made for a rich experience. Speaking of his professor, Jonathan says, “She was like an invisible hand pushing me to think both about the research and what is behind the research.” He appreciated that Professor Gourley held her research students to high standards, while also providing them the freedom to grow as independent researchers. “She always expects the best of us,” Jonathan adds.

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