Scientists Advance Physics of Single ‘Transformer’ Proteins with Role in Cancer
TSRI Team Comes Together with Rare Disease Community
Snapshot: Danielle Grotjahn



Snapshot: Danielle Grotjahn

Position: Third-year graduate student in the laboratories of Gabe Lander and Sandra Encalada on The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) California campus.

Research: Grotjahn combines imaging techniques called fluorescence microscopy and cryo-electron tomography to study the structure and function of motor proteins. These specialized proteins transport organelles and proteins along microtubules within the cell.

Background: A native of Madison, Wisconsin, Grotjahn graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) with honors in research and double majors in Biology and Spanish. During a research internship at UW-Madison, Grotjahn developed a new technique to use live-imaging confocal microscopy to visualize the microtubule spindle apparatus in dividing zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos.

Arrived at TSRI: 2013

Thoughts on TSRI: “My experience as a joint graduate student in two very distinct laboratories represents one of the best aspects of TSRI—inter-departmental collaboration. My experience as a joint student is not uncommon within the TSRI graduate program, as many students are now opting for joint status and coming up with incredible ways to combine expertise from different laboratories to approach complex biological problems.”

Awards/Accomplishments: Dean’s Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and an Achievement Rewards for College Students (ARCS) Foundation scholarship

Professional and Volunteer Groups: Grotjahn currently chairs the Scripps California Network for Women in Science (NWiS) and serves on the Society of Fellows executive committee. She is also a member of the San Diego chapter of the Association for Women in Science and the TSRI graduate student council.

Thoughts on NWiS: As chair of NWiS, Grotjahn has gained experience in team management, public speaking and professional networking. Grateful for the support of the TSRI community—particularly faculty members—she is most proud of helping nurture the group’s new mentorship program, which pairs TSRI researchers with students from San Diego community colleges—primarily first-generation college students and underrepresented minorities in STEM. For more information on NWiS, see the organization’s website.

Other Extracurricular Activities: Having grown up in Wisconsin, Grotjahn was attracted to San Diego’s sunny climate and the activities possible with the region’s year-round temperate weather. In addition to hiking, yoga and gardening, she enjoys traveling; destinations to date have included the Dominican Republic and Santiago, Chile, on study-abroad programs, and France, Spain, Switzerland, Honduras, Peru, Mexico and Argentina.

Send comments to: press[at]

My experience as a joint graduate student in two very distinct laboratories represents one of the best aspects of TSRI—inter-departmental collaboration,” says Danielle Grotjahn of the Lander and Encalada labs. (Photo by BioMedical Graphics.)