In June, Emily Cor­coran, who is pursing a PhD in chem­istry, received career advice from Ei-​​ichi Negishi, who won the 2010 Nobel Prize in chemistry.

He told me to use good research as a spring­board for my own work,” said Cor­coran, whose career goal is to serve as a prin­cipal inves­ti­gator for a lab. “The trick is to apply pub­lished research to a new problem so that I can define a field for myself.”

Cor­coran was able to absorb Negishi’s words of wisdom first-​​hand because she was among more than 500 young researchers selected to attend the 61st Meeting of Nobel Lau­re­ates at Lindau, Ger­many — a yearly sci­en­tific con­fer­ence in which Nobel Prize win­ners in var­ious dis­ci­plines exchange ideas with doc­toral stu­dents from all over the world.

Sharing research and net­working with many of the sharpest minds in her field moti­vated and inspired Cor­coran, who called the meeting “really dif­ferent from any con­fer­ence I’ve ever attended.”

As she put it, “I’ve never had so many good con­ver­sa­tions with super smart, intel­li­gent and driven sci­en­tists. It’s great to meet people who will even­tu­ally be your col­leagues for the rest of your life.”

At North­eastern, Cor­coran is designing mol­e­cules that could help physi­cians pin­point the exact loca­tion of can­cerous tumors in the human body.

Robert Hanson, Matthews Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Bioor­ganic and Med­i­c­inal Chem­istry, praised her research, which is funded by a four-​​year, $2.4 mil­lion grant from the U.S. Depart­ment of Energy.

She’s doing all of the chem­istry on her own,” said Hanson, who serves as Corcoran’s fac­ulty advisor. “It’s one thing to write it all out on paper, but making things work in the lab is an entirely dif­ferent challenge.”

The con­fer­ence, he said, has boosted Corcoran’s con­fi­dence and shed light on the ways in which her research will impact the bio­med­ical community.

She can aim as high as she wants to in terms of a career path,” he said. “The next step for her is to con­sider what she wants to do with her research in order to accom­plish her tech­nical and intel­lec­tual goals.”