• Traveling around the world!


    Welcome! My name is Adam Konkol, and I am a Goldwater Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania (C'21) studying biochemistry, biophysics, physics, and mathematics in the Vagelos Molecular Life Scholars Program.



























    Photo: Buttermilk Falls, Delaware Water Gap (sorely disappointing!)

    Credit: a lovely couple who offered to take this photo for me

    October 2019

  • Teaching

    This section is for the classes I teach or have taught

    Organic chemistry workshop

    Chem242 with Professor Smith

    I teach a weekend workshop in organic chemistry, previously Chem241 with Molander and now Chem242 with Smith. Students can find my resources linked here!

    Physics lab

    Phys 101/102/150/151 lab

    I have taught introductory physics labs for the past four semesters and work closely with the lab manager at Penn to develop the lab curriculum.


    Resources coming soon

    Science Leadership Academy mini-course

    Penn Sciences eight-week course in Fall 2019

    I independently taught a recurring eight-week exploratory science course at Science Leadership Academy, a local magnet high school. I am back at SLA currently, teaching Public Speaking as part of Coll135.

  • About Me

    A sample of a simulated vascular network

    Goldwater Scholar

    University of Pennsylvania

    Oct 2017 - Present

    I use computational modeling as well as wet lab approaches to understand plant meristem differentiation and animal vasculature.

    Some notes from my spring 2019 Phys102 lab


    Fall 2018 - Present

    I love to teach, and I have taught introductory physics lab since my sophomore fall. I also teach a weekly workshop for introductory organic chemistry, and work with local high school students whenever I can.

    Eagle Scout

    Dec 2016 - Present

    I led and carried out a project which restored a local, run-down park during the fall of 2016.




    I like to bake in my spare time!

  • Education

    Bachelor of Arts, University of Pennsylvania: 2017-2021

    Vagelos Molecular Life Scholar in Biochemistry, Biophysics, Physics, and Mathematics. Contact for GPA.


    Master of Science, University of Pennsylvania: 2019-2021.

    Physics, advised by Eleni Katifori.


    IB Diploma, Biotechnology High School: 2013-2017

    Higher level: English, Biology, Chemistry, GPA: 98.28 (4.0)

    Work Experience

    Teaching assistant, University of Pennsylvania: Fall 2018 - Present

    • Fall 2018: Two sections of Phys150 lab
    • Spring 2019: One section Phys101 lab, one section Phys102 lab
    • Fall 2019: Two sections of Phys150 lab
    • Spring 2020: Two sections of Phys151 lab
    Organic chemistry workshop leader, University of Pennsylvania: 2019-2020 school year
    • Leading weekly workshops in organic chemistry problem solving for Chem241 (F19), 242 (S20)
    Communication Within the Curriculum speaking adviser (in training), University of Pennsylvania: Spring 2020 - Present
    • Currently taking Coll135, the training course for future CWiC speaking advisers

    Researcher, Katifori Lab: Oct 2018 - Present

    • Studying mouse brain surface vasculature using graphical and statistical methods
    • Determining the origins of river delta topology with John Shaw at University of Arkansas

    Researcher, Wagner Lab: Oct 2017 - May 2019

    • Worked on PRC2 epigenetic maintenance, floral regulation by transcription factor LFY
    • Characterized in vitro properties of LFY structure and binding
    • Developed computational methods to characterize disordered proteins

    Tutor, University of Pennsylvania: Fall 2018

    • Tutored students one-on-one in Phys150, Math114 through the Tutoring Center

    Counselor and Staff Leader, Forestburg Scout Reservation: 2013-2017

    • Developed programs for youth (aged 10-17) related to environmental sciences and nature
    Intern, Cosmetic Essence Innovations: May-June 2017
    • Managed and reorganized the chemical supply
    • Formulated and tested properties of new products
    Builder, my home: 2016-2017
    • Self-taught demolition and renovation with my family as we rebuilt/remodeled five rooms in our home
    • Experience in floors, walls, painting, lighting, roofing, masonry, siding, windows, and design


    Mini-course teacher, Science Leadership Academy: Fall 2019 - Present

    • Led short, eight week exploratory science courses for high school freshmen
    • Currently leading Public Speaking as part of the Coll135 community service course
    Lab leader, Paul Robeson High School for Human Services: Fall 2019
    • Taught physics to local high school students as part of the Phys137 community service course

    Intern, Borough of Union Beach: Summer 2016

    • Organized local auction of surplus materials with multiple departments 

    Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America: 2006-2017

    • Restored a local park in collaboration with my town's Department of Public Works to increase safety and deter drug use

    Vagelos Happiness Project mentor, University of Pennsylvania: Fall 2019 - Present

    Class of 2024 Peer Adviser (upcoming), College of Arts and Sciences: Fall 2020

    Achievements and Honors

    Goldwater Scholarship, 2020

    Eagle Scout, Boy Scouts of America: 2006-2017

    Roy and Diana Vagelos Challenge Award (full tuition), University of Pennsylvania: 2019-2021

    John Hart Hunter Educational Foundation scholarship, Kappa Alpha Society: 2020

    National Eagle Scout Association Academic Scholarship: 2017

    Dean's list, University of Pennsylvania : 2017-2019

    Attendee, Princeton CPBF Summer School, Summer 2019

    Publications and presentations

    Shaw, J. B.*, Katifori, E.*, Konkol, A., Cathcart, C., Hale, R., Bain, & Wagner, W. (2019, December). Structure and dynamics of branching and looping channels on river deltas. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Presentation given by John B. Shaw, San Francisco, CA.

    Jin, R., Klasfeld, S., Fernandez, M., Xiao, J., Han, S., Konkol, A., & Wagner, D*. Licensing of cell fate reprogramming via LEAFY transcription factor pioneering activity. Submitted to Nature Plants.

    * corresponding author(s)


    Laboratory skills

    • Culture of A. thaliana, C. elegans, mammal cell lines
    • Cloning, Gibson Assembly, plasmid prep
    • Southern/Western blotting
    • Bacterial transformation, electroporesis
    • Protoplast isolation, transfection
    • Affinity purification, HPLC/FPLC
    • qPCR, RT-PCR
    • Genomics, bioinformatics analysis (with Biopython)
    • Scientific literature/results presentation

    Computer skills

    • Genomics/bioinformatics analysis using Biopython
    • Machine learning using scikit-learn and keras
    • Skilled in Python, LaTeX, Mathematica
    • Familiar with Bash, gnuplot, MATLAB, GROMACS
    • 3D modeling, video production using Blender, DaVinci Resolve

    Language proficiency: English, Polish, Spanish

    General construction and building skills

  • Courses taken

    At the University of Pennsylvania and prior


    • 4 years biology (IB Biology HL, Molecular/Agricultural Biotech, Cell Culture, various genomics and bioinformatics)
    • 3 semesters independent study (Intro to Research, Lab Skills, Advanced Experimental Design)
    • 3 years chemistry (IB Chemistry HL)

    Fall 2017: 5 c.u.

    • Chem022: Structural biology & genomics (0.5)
    • Chem114: Honors chemistry I: Experimental perspectives (1)
    • Phys150: Principles I with lab: Mechanics (1.5) 
    • Math114: Calculus II (multivariable) (1)
    • Hsoc212: Science, technology, and war (1)

    Spring 2018: 6 c.u.

    • Chem022: Structural biology & genomics (0.5)
    • Chem116: Honors chemistry II (1)
    • Phys151: Principles II with lab: Electromagnetism (1.5)
    • Math240: Calculus III (linear algebra and differential equations) (1)
    • Math203: Proving things: Algebra (1)
    • Writ074: Writing seminar in science and politics (1)

    Fall 2018: 6 c.u.

    • Math241: Calculus IV (partial differential equations). Self-taught summer 2018, passed credit exam (1)
    • Chem241: Organic chemistry I (1)
    • Chem221: Physical chemistry I (1)
    • Phys280: Physical models of biological systems (1)
    • Phys230: Principles III: Thermodynamics, relativity, and waves (1)
    • Hist011: Deciphering America (1)
    • Phil002: Introduction to ethics (1)

    Spring 2019: 5 c.u.

    • Phys351: Analytical mechanics (1)
    • Phys360: Statistics, data mining, machine learning (1)
    • Chem242: Organic chemistry II (1)
    • Chem251: Biological chemistry (1)
    • Math314: Advanced linear algebra (1)

    Fall 2019: 7 c.u.

    • Coll098: Full-time biochemical research (1, pass/fail for summer 2019 research)
    • Phys361: Electromagnetism I (1)
    • Phys411: Introduction to quantum mechanics I (1)
    • Phys401: Thermodynamics (1)
    • Phys137: Community physics initiate (1, community service course)
    • Math370: Algebra I (1)
    • Math410: Complex analysis (1)
    • Chem451: Biological chemistry I (1)

    Spring 2020: 6 c.u.

    • Phys412: Introduction to quantum mechanics II (1)
    • Phys516: Electromagnetism (1, graduate)
    • Phys580: Biological physics (1, graduate)
    • Chem452: Biological chemistry II (1)
    • Math371: Algebra II (1)
    • Coll135: The Art of Speaking (1, community service course)

    Fall 2020: 5.5 c.u. (anticipated)

    • Phys500: Mathematical methods in physics (1, graduate)
    • Phys611: Statistical mechanics (1, graduate)
    • Math360: Analysis I (1)
    • Bche404: Biochemistry research (1)
    • Chem244: Experimental organic chemistry lab I (0.5)
    • Musc050: World music & cultures (1)
  • Research

    Investigating factors involved in delta formation

    Jun 2019 - Present

    I am collaborating with Professor John Shaw at the University of Arkansas to develop a theory of river delta formation by investigating dynamic features that produce the topological features we observe in nature.


    Shaw, J. B.*, Katifori, E.*, Konkol, A., Cathcart, C., Hale, R., Bain, R., & Wagner, W. (2019, December). Structure and dynamics of branching and looping channels on river deltas. American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. Presentation given by John B. Shaw, San Francisco, CA.

    Characterizing and modeling mouse brain surface vasculature

    Oct 2018 - Present

    I have been studying our model for network development under fluctuating load by comparing to a well-studied system, the mouse brain surface vasculature. This has involved describing the statistical characteristics of experimentally observed architecture and comparing to simulated networks made with code I developed.


    Manuscript in preparation.

    Role and binding kinetics of intrinsically disordered protein LFY in regulating flower development

    Jan 2018 - May 2019

    I worked with doctoral candidate Run Jin in study of LFY, a transcription factor which controls the start of flower formation. My research focused in sequence analysis of the protein and studying the properties recombinant variants in vitro.


    Jin, R., Klasfeld, S., Fernandez, M., Xiao, J., Han, S., Konkol, A., & Wagner, D*. Licensing of cell fate reprogramming via LEAFY transcription factor pioneering activity. Submitted to Nature Plants.

  • Contact Me

    Feel free to contact me directly for any comments or questions.