Former area resident John A. Means, the son of William and Mary Kay Means, was presented the Excellence in Scholarship Award recently during an awards program held at the Davis University Center, University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.
Means is an assistant professor of chemistry and resides in Logan, Ohio, with his wife, Kerri.
A graduate of Wintersville High School where his interest in the sciences developed, Means developed an affinity for chemistry early in high school, taking a chemistry course in a summer science camp at Clemson University and competing in an American Chemical Society high school chemistry competition, finishing third in the Pittsburgh section.
In 1996, Means earned a bachelor of arts degree in chemistry from Capital University with a minor in biology. Upon graduation, he was awarded the ACS Outstanding Senior Chemistry Student award and the Faculty Leadership award. He then worked as a research assistant at DuPont's Circleville Research Laboratory before completing his master's in medicinal chemistry from Ohio State University in 2001.
After a few years teaching and working as a laboratory manager, Means returned to graduate school, earning his Ph.D. in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry in 2007. While at Ohio University, he was awarded the Donald R. Clippinger Outstanding Graduate Research Award. He worked under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer V. Hines at Ohio State and Ohio University where his work involved the study of small molecule interactions with RNA and RNA structural biology with a long-term goal of developing new antibodies.
Since joining the chemistry department at Rio Grande in the fall of 2007, Means has continued his work in small molecule interactions with RNA, directing student research and authoring or co-authoring five peer-reviewed publications. He also has been active in presenting at other universities and conferences and in applying for external funding for educational and research activities.