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Dr Ning Xie

Senior Research Chemist at Sasol Performance Chemicals in Westlake, LA

Ning Xie was born and raised in Baton Rouge, LA, with a strong family-focus. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Louisiana State University, doing undergraduate research with Professor Bob Hammer.  He decided to stay on for his graduate studies in Organic Chemistry, starting Spring 2008.  In the summer, he joined Professor Carol Taylor’s research group. As a graduate student, Ning achieved the first synthesis and characterization of an epitope in an allergenic protein (Art v 1) of mugwort, a major cause of hayfever in Europe and North America.  The synthetically challenging motif consists of contiguous β-L-arabinofuranosides of trans-4-hydroxyproline. In addition to the synthesis and purification of these glycopeptides he characterized them by NMR and also evaluated the polyproline helical conformation through the use of circular dichroism spectroscopy. Ning’s research has so-far resulted in two publications, with his compounds still undergoing analysis in a collaborator’s lab in Vienna, Austria.  Sometimes, collaborative projects take time, depending on personnel and funding.  During his graduate studies, Ning presented posters at at the 66th Southwest and 62nd Southeastern Regional Meeting of the ACS in New Orleans, and the 41st National Organic Chemistry Symposium, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.  He gave an oral presentation at the 68th Southwest Regional Meeting of the ACS in Baton Rouge.  In 2013, Ning successfully defended his dissertation titled, “Synthesis of the Glycopeptide Epitope of the Art v 1 Glycoprotein.”  When asked what he appreciated most about his time at LSU, Ning answered, “I appreciated the wide range of chemistry knowledge that the faculty at LSU possessed.”

                Following graduation, Ning accepted a postdoc position at TumorEnd, LLC, in Baton Rouge, LA. His projects involved the multistep synthesis and characterization of small bioactive molecules for drug target and therapeutic applications. After a year, Ning accepted a permanent position at Sasol Performance Chemicals in Westlake, LA. Ning reminisced on this early transition in his career, “post-graduation, my number one priority was to stay in the Louisiana area in order to be close to my family.  This Sasol opportunity for me was a dream come true. While I work daily in the analytical group doing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy, my synthetic organic chemistry background has allowed me to participate in and lead global R&D projects.”

                Ning declared that there wasn’t anything he would change about his journey to who he is today but he identified a pivotal decision. “The turning point for me was when I decided to join Dr Taylor’s research group. I realized that all the hard work I put in during my time in graduate school has shaped me into the scientist that I am today.  I owe my successes to the work ethic I learned in Dr Taylor’s group.”

                His advice for prospective and current graduate students is as follows, “Graduate school is what you make it.  If you work hard, learn as much as you possibly can, and give it your best, you’ll find your graduate school experience to be beneficial in your post-grad career no matter what type of industry you go into.”