Briana James earned a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science at the University of Virginia in 2015. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Virginia Commonwealth University, where she studies how the sphingolipid ceramide and the protein ORMDL3 affect the development and severity of allergic asthma. Outside of research, Briana enjoys solving whimsical puzzles, spending time with her family and friends, mentoring other STEM students, and learning to play bass guitar.
Favorite snack: Reese’s peanut butter cups
Favorite Scientist: Alice Ball, who at the age of 23 developed the “Ball Method” which produced a more soluble version of chaulmoogra oil, creating the only effective treatment for leprosy until the 1940s. As a young, black female chemist Alice Ball defied the obstacles of her time; her research improved the lives of sufferers with one of the most age-old diseases.