Angela Wagner is already an outstanding representation of the caliber of Texas Engineering graduate students — she has received many awards, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, she has worked in industry, and she was part of the small team that invented Zepatier, a drug approved by the FDA in 2016 that is used to treat chronic hepatitis C in adults.
Now, Wagner, who is a Ph.D. student in the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering, is representing the Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin and the Lone Star State at the prestigious 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Lindau, Germany, from June 24-29, 2018. The annual meeting brings 500-600 young scientists from around the world together to meet Nobel Laureates and share ideas in the fields of physiology, medicine, physics and chemistry — the three natural science disciplines of the Nobel Prize. Wagner is one of only 29 students from the U.S. to be invited to the Lindau meeting.
“The Lindau Nobel Laureate meetings provide young researchers the opportunity to engage in meaningful and intellectual dialogue with experts in their chosen disciplines about cutting-edge research developments,” said Michelle Goodson, who manages the Lindau meeting for ORAU, one of the meeting’s primary sponsors. “During the meeting, young scientists build relationships and professional networks for future collaborations. This unique experience is invaluable to students.”
Wagner’s research focuses on the development of biopolymers for cancer therapy, as well as immunotherapy for cancer treatment. She works with Cockrell School professor Nicholas Peppas, a globally recognized leader in drug delivery who holds appointments in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the McKetta Department of Chemical Engineering and in UT’s Dell Medical School.
“Dr. Peppas is a world-renowned expert in polymers, drug delivery and biology, and he was my main driving force for coming to UT,” Wagner said. “I feel so fortunate to work alongside him.”
She said the Austin weather also helped her make the decision to come to UT.
“My husband and I are from Philadelphia, so we’re used to dreary, cold weather. But we love animals and the outdoors, and Austin’s climate allows us to go to parks and lakes all year round,” she said.
Wagner received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Penn State University and then went on to work in the pharmaceuticals industry for seven years before joining the Cockrell School four years ago.
Despite her achievements, Wagner remains modest. Entering her lab in the biomedical engineering building, she cautions, “Real science isn’t always colorful,” warning that her research lab isn’t full of bells and whistles. But she has certainly proven herself to be a leader in her field and in the Cockrell School and an excellent choice to represent the U.S. at the Lindau meeting.