DR. MARY ANN WU '83
Dr. Mary Ann Wu (nee Perozzo) earned her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from UW-Parkside in 1983. While attending UW-Parkside, she entered the laboratory of Dr. Keith Ward, studying proteins of bioluminescent organisms, including jellyfish and fireflies, using X-ray diffraction crystallography. Besides becoming familiar with crystallography research, the experience provided a wide range of opportunities, including appointments in the laboratories of Dr. Bruce Branchini, UW-Parkside and Dr. Paul Sigler, University of Chicago, several jellyfish collection trips to Friday Harbor Laboratory in the Puget Sound, and opportunities to attend national conferences of the American Crystallographic Association. She was a co-founder of the Chemistry Club. Upon graduation, she remained at Parkside for a year to teach freshmen chemistry labs and continue crystallography research.
When her mentor, Keith Ward, moved to the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC, Mary Ann was accepted to a position in his laboratory. The group focused on the study of a wide range of proteins, including snake venom toxins, bioluminescent proteins, and factors involved in blood coagulation. They developed a laboratory robot to automate the preparation and monitoring of protein crystal experiments, a critical bottleneck in crystallographic research, and studied protein crystal growth through imaging with atomic force microscopy and in microgravity, flying experiments aboard the Space Shuttle. While at the Naval Research Lab, Dr. Wu earned her doctorate degree in Chemistry from The Catholic University of America in 1997. For her thesis work, she determined the crystal structure of the native Aequorea aequorea Green Fluorescent Protein, an important genetic marker.
In 2001, Dr. Wu chose to stay home to care for her son Matthew for five years, enjoying the time as an officer of the Mom’s Club and doing consulting work for a museum exhibit. She earned a secondary school teaching certification in 2007, returning to work to teach high school chemistry, biology and physical science for two years, before moving on to teach a semester of Chemistry 102 at Frederick Community College while also renovating and managing a rental property.
In 2009 she accepted a position as a Program Officer at the National Center for Research Resources, one of the 27 Institutes and Centers that comprises the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Wu managed the small business grant program and a portfolio of research resource grants for structural biology, including X-ray crystallography synchrotron beam lines and cryoelectron microscopy centers. She moved to her current position at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences when the NIH reorganized in 2011. She currently co-coordinates the trans-NIH Common Fund program for Transformative Cryoelectron Microscopy and directs the NIGMS Mature Synchrotron Resource program, as well as managing a portfolio of structural biology technology development grants.
Mary Ann and her husband Chia Kuei (a.k.a. Edward) Wu live in Rockville, MD. They have one son, a Junior at the University of Maryland. She enjoys playing Catan, hiking, bike riding and gardening in her spare time.