Ian Liyayi, senior biochemistry major, spent his summer University of Michigan in the lab of Dr. George Garcia working on a drug discovery project. Specifically, he worked with the transcriptional activator, VirF, which regulates the virulence cascade of Shigella Flexneri, the causative agent of shigellosis. He conducted mutagenesis on VirF to isolate its DNA binding domain in order to develop a crystal structure to probe interactions with a known inhibitor of the VirF DNA binding domain. Ian enjoyed his experience in Michigan, saying: “The lab work was challenging and taught me a great deal on conducting research. The experience was eye opening. I realized that I’m interested in pursuing a PhD in medicinal chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. “