Among The Elite

Lydia Kisley Was Recently Named To The 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 List

For the second straight year, a young member of Wittenberg's alumni has cracked the annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list.

Congratulations to Lydia Kisley, who graduated from Wittenberg in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry and a minor in physics. The sixth annual Forbes 30 Under 30 list, announced in early January, highlights innovators who are under 30 years old and work in a variety of different industries, from media to manufacturing. Kisley, from Mentor, Ohio, was included in the healthcare category of the 2017 list.

Wittenberg's Derrick Braziel and William Thomas, class of 2009 and 2007 respectively, made last year's list in the entrepreneur category for their work and creation of MORTAR Cincinnati.

"I feel I was chosen to be part of the 30 Under 30 because I enjoy collaborating and working with other scientists, leading me to work on a lot of diverse projects, and also because I find it important to share my work through publications and presentations as often as possible," said Kisley, 28, who is a Beckman-Brown Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Kisley received her Ph.D. in chemistry in 2015 from Rice University in Houston, Texas.

"I was a little surprised that I was included on the healthcare list instead of the science list, as my work is very basic science compared to the impressive achievements of the other specialists on the list that includes surgeons and start-ups with clinical applications," she added. "But I hope that my research will reach and influence healthcare down the road. It's a great honor to be included on the list to affirm that all the late nights in the lab, working on the 20th draft of a publication, or getting stuck in an airport traveling from a conference are all worth it."

As a graduate student at Rice, one of the projects Kisley worked on included observing blood serum proteins combining with gold nanoparticles, which have been used in some cancer treatments. For more on this research, go to

“Outside the classroom, the discussions and support I had from the professors and staff allowed me to go and do research at larger universities over the summers, attend conferences, and helped me gain entry into graduate school."

"At Rice, the focus of my thesis was studying how to separate and purify drug molecules more efficiently - an aspect important in the pharmaceutical industry - using unique microscopes (and playing around with lasers)," Kisley said. Her career goal is to one day have her own research lab at a university so she can develop new types of microscopes and imaging to understand and design materials used in such areas as tissue engineering, anti-rust coatings and drug delivery.

"Now I'm a postdoc at Illinois gaining experience in a new field by doing research in a different academic lab," she added. "Here I try to understand how biomolecules fold and function at material surfaces. This has applications for biosensors and medical implants. My work is very interdisciplinary as I'm working with three different research groups in chemical engineering, chemistry and materials science."

According to an article released by the University of Illinois, Kisley has worked with polymers and hydrogels since her arrival in 2015. Her research focuses on using new technologies to take pictures of chemicals at a nanoscale level in order to better manipulate them.

"I think Wittenberg shaped my career path by the support I received from the professors both in and out of the classroom," Kisley said. "In the classroom, the courses prepared me well for important aspects of my current career, be it designing our own multi-week research project, giving presentations or doing posters in class, and having writing-intensive science courses.

"Outside the classroom, the discussions and support I had from the professors and staff allowed me to go and do research at larger universities over the summers, attend conferences, and helped me gain entry into graduate school," she added. "My professors were always available to discuss science. Now that I'm hoping to become a professor myself, their accessibility and patience really are impressive. There was also a great community at Wittenberg between the chemistry students that showed me how collaborative science can be. We really worked together, supported each other, and were friends in and out of the classroom."

According to Forbes, the 2017 30 Under 30 class includes 600 change-makers and innovators across the United States in 20 industries - all under 30 years of age. This group is challenging conventional wisdom and rewriting the rules for the next generation. The process to make the list of 600 is intense as the group was selected from more than 15,000 applicants and considered through game-changing quotients along various dimensions. Approximately 80 judges tallied the final votes.

Kisley joins the likes of actress Margot Robbie, five-time pro bowler Von Miller, singer Gallant, Pultizer Prize-winning journalist Wesley Lowery, vegan chef and Cupcake Wars winner Chloe Coscarelli, and social media personalities Kylie Jenner and Tyler Oakley. The categories included: Art & Style, Consumer Tech, Education, Energy, Enterprise Tech, Finance, Food & Drink, Games, Healthcare, Hollywood & Entertainment, Law & Policy, Manufacturing & Industry, Marketing & Advertising, Media, Music, Retail & E-commerce, Science, Social Entrepreneurs, Sports and Venture Capital.


Cindy Holbrook
Cindy Holbrook
Senior Communications Assistant

About Wittenberg

Wittenberg's curriculum has centered on the liberal arts as an education that develops the individual's capacity to think, read, and communicate with precision, understanding, and imagination. We are dedicated to active, engaged learning in the core disciplines of the arts and sciences and in pre-professional education grounded in the liberal arts. Known for the quality of our faculty and their teaching, Wittenberg has more Ohio Professors of the Year than any four-year institution in the state. The university has also been recognized nationally for excellence in community service, sustainability, and intercollegiate athletics. Located among the beautiful rolling hills and hollows of Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg offers more than 100 majors, minors and special programs, enviable student-faculty research opportunities, a unique student success center, service and study options close to home and abroad, a stellar athletics tradition, and successful career preparation.

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