What do bumblebees, hallucinogenic sage, venom harvesting, and rock climbing have in common?

AUGUST 19, 2021

Do we have your attention now? Great! This combination of flora and fauna is just one of the fascinating gems that make Angela Schlegel, PhD, Scientific Technical Editor (they/them), who they are. Angela joined AlphaGroup Medical Communications in January 2021 and is one of those incredible people who give life meaning by devoting their efforts to learning.

Angela’s passion for research bloomed in high school when they began working in research labs, and that passion grew exponentially during Angela’s undergraduate years at the University of Arizona. As a college student, they studied bumblebee behavior and the metabolic pathways in the hallucinogenic sage species Salvia divinorum. To complete an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, Angela wrote an honors thesis examining human papillomavirus infection mechanisms.

Angela in front of the electrophysiology rig used for the graduate thesis

A celebratory moment during Angela’s post-PhD road trip

While in graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, Angela’s academic focus continued to be scientific research. There, Angela studied how plants sensed and responded to mechanical forces and built a noninvasive sensor prototype made from proteins that could penetrate plants’ rigid cell walls. They also examined amino acid level interactions in a single force-responsive protein and liaised with another team who used Angela’s experimental results to verify their research.

As a graduate student, Angela began editing and writing as a member of InPrint, an in-house student and postdoc service that provides editing and graphic design assistance to scientists on campus. At InPrint, they helped to establish a plagiarism policy focused on educating writers about best practices. Angela also edited for Cactus Communications and Enago Editing Services, assisting with many life sciences publications.

Angela leverages this wealth of experience and knowledge while working with the AlphaGroup Scientific Quality and Support (SQS) team. Angela helps in literature searches, data and fact-checking, figure and table generation, and submission to congresses and journals, supporting AlphaGroup’s three agencies—AlphaBioCom, AlphaQsci, and AlphaScientia. It is their overwhelming passion for learning that makes Angela a valuable team member.

When not working on scientific editing for AlphaGroup, Angela pursues various activities, including bicycling, indoor rock climbing, and cooking. Most recently, Angela built a set of bird feeders for learning and observation. They are also planning a large-scale garden for vegetables, herbs, edibles, and native flowers to attract birds and pollinators. Angela loves reading various genres, especially science fiction and horror, and is currently absorbing translated work about cultural traditions and place. Angela’s favorite authors are Stephen Graham Jones, Becky Chambers, Haruki Murakami, and Yoon Ha Lee.

With shop dog Teddy at one of Angela’s favorite bookstores – Subterranean Books in St. Louis, MO

Always learning – Angela with a snake waiting to watch venom harvesting for antivenom production

Philanthropically, Angela supports various nonprofits. Most recently, they served as a delivery driver for their hometown Tucson (AZ) Food Share, a mutual aid organization providing food to anyone who wants and needs it. Angela believes community efforts are some of the most effective means of doing necessary work and filling gaps quickly.

Having lived in large cities such as Tucson and St. Louis, Angela said they treasure the diversity of people and the joy of celebrating that diversity. Angela says that meeting people from different backgrounds and interests made those environments richer, more welcoming, and more interesting.