The Office of Student Research is proud to feature Keira Naff in this week’s “Scholar Story”. 

Keira Naff is junior at Longwood University and she is earning a degree in Chemistry with a concentration in secondary education. She participated in the PRISM summer research program in 2020. Over the summer she spent time working with Dr. Jonathan White developing a multiweek laboratory activity that provides biochemistry students with the opportunity to explore platinum-based drug binding to DNA through wet lab techniques and online modeling software. She also spent time in the lab synthesizing a novel Pt-choline complex with the hopes of characterizing the compound’s ability to bind to DNA.  

She was interested in pursuing an independent research project because “I wanted to gain unique laboratory experiences that I could use to share with, and hopefully inspire, my future high school chemistry students.” Her favorite part about doing research was not only learning about the specific uses of platinum compounds in the medical field, but also being able to work with the metal itself. “Although the platinum compound came in the form of a liquid and looked nothing like its normal state, it was just as exciting to know that I was working with something that I would not normally encounter in a typical undergraduate lab.” 

Because of the time she spent in the research lab, Keira says she has “greater confidence in my ability to “do” chemistry. Although I plan to teach at the high school level, I do also hope to pursue some type of field work in the future and I believe that participating in research has helped me feel more comfortable about doing so.” 

The most important lesson Keira learned from participating in research is “to not accept defeat when a certain project or method does not go as intended. Many famous scientists (and humans, for that matter) did not achieve perfect results on their first tries, so it is only normal to experience setbacks.” 


Congratulations to Keira on her successful research!  

If you would like to have your research featured in a “Scholar Story”, or if you would like to learn more about getting involved in research at Longwood University, please visit Longwood’s Office of Student Research website 

or contact Amorette Barber, Director of the Office of Student Research ( or