Anita Djonlic is a doctor of science in chemical biology who has won numerous awards. She came from her native Maglaj to the famous Princeton University.
Her story was told by Edhem Custovic, a citizen from Tuzla who lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he works at the renowned La Trobe University, who promotes stories about citizens from Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) who achieve success around the world through social media.
She’s moving to Northern California
Anita was born in BiH in 1991 and grew up in Maglaj. At the age of 16, she moved to Mostar to attend the United World College (UWC Mostar) and obtain a bilingual diploma of the International Baccalaureate.
In 2010, she began her studies at Methodist University in Fayetteville, North Carolina, as a Davis UWC and President’s Scholarship recipient.
“During her undergraduate studies, she did research with Professor Eun Hoo Kim on the synthesis of a difluorinated analog of gingerol. She completed summer internships in the fields of medical biochemistry with Dr. Emina Cengic Kiseljakovic at the University of Sarajevo (Faculty of Medicine Sarajevo), and in molecular medicine with Professor Dr. Victor Arce at the University of Santiago de Compostela (CIMUS) in Spain.”
“Her research has been supported by an undergraduate research grant, and her academic achievements and contributions to the chemistry department have been recognized through the Mendeleev Medallion and the Marshall Award from Methodist University,” Custovic writes.
In 2014, Anita graduated Summa Cum Laude, the highest distinction, and as a member of the Honors Program, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry with a focus on Biochemistry.
Discovery of the first inhibitor with a unique structure
After graduating, she began doctoral studies in the chemistry department of Duke University. Then, in 2015, she joined Professor Amanda Hargrove’s group and began her dissertation on the development of chemical compounds for inhibiting ribonucleic acid with a unique triple helix structure.
“Her work resulted in the discovery of the first inhibitor of this structure.
At Duke University, she was a very active volunteer because it is an integral part of her life. Through the Graduate Chemistry Council, she helped organize various STEM outreach events and recruited many volunteers.
She has organized various events to promote science including Science under the Stars, Duke Alumni Weekend, NC DNA Day, FEMMES Capstone Project, Duke University Summer Camp, etc.
In 2018, she received the “Joe Taylor Adams” award from the chemistry department, and in 2019, she was nominated for the prestigious “Schmidt Science” postdoctoral fellowship.
She worked as an assistant at both Methodist and Duke universities and was highly respected by students and professors who worked with her,” said Custovic in his post on Facebook.
Anita’s scientific research work has been presented at the local, regional, and national levels, one of which was recognized with an award for the best presentation.
In the summer of 2020, the successful Maglaj citizen began her post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Professor Clifford Brangwynne at the famous Princeton University.
“Remember the name Anita Djonlic, because she has a huge career ahead of her,” Custovic concluded.