Hi! I am

Kira Mills

I'm a


About Me

PhD in Computational Biochemistry | Expert in Translating Complex Scientific Concepts for Diverse Audiences | Passionate Science Communicator & Educator

  • Name: Kira Mills
  • Location: Gainesville, FL
  • Email: KiraRMills@gmail.com



Ph.D. - Chemistry & Biochemistry

The University of Texas at Dallas

Advisor: Dr. Hedieh Torabifard 2021-2023
Dr. Steven Nielsen 2018-2021

Research Interests: Computational Chemistry, specifically the use of MD simulations to study protein mechanisms.


B.S. - Chemistry, Magna Cum Laude

Texas A&M University - Commerce

Advisor:Dr. Bukuo Ni

Research Interests: Organic synthesis, specifically the use of a diarylpyrolinol silyl ether derivative as an organocatalyst for asymmetric cycloadditions.



Advocacy Training Program

American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Gained training and experience in science policy wriiitng and advocacy through 10-week program, culminating in the writing of an Op-Ed and Policy Brief.


Grants & Communications Director

sci-MI (Science Mentorship Institute)

I set up the organizational infrastructure, found, and applied for funding for a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping underprivileged students from around the world gain experience and mentorship in scientific research.



Chemistry Graduate Student Association, The University of Texas at Dallas

I plan and organize events and seminars dedicated to helping new graduate students acclimate to the program and work with administration to improve both the working and personal lives of graduate students.


Teaching Assistant

The University of Texas at Dallas

Courses: Computational, Physical, & General Chemistry

I aid student comprehension of concepts via once weekly lectures and office hours. I've also worked with senior lecturers to revise course schedules to ensure all students are adequately prepared, regardless of previous education or experience.


Ronald E. McNair Scholar

Texas A&M University - Commerce

The McNair Scholar program is a federally funded program to assist first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students prepare for graduate studies or other post-baccaleurette programs. By being a Scholar, I performed a 10-week undergraduate research project under the guidance of Dr. Bukuo Ni, focusing on organic synthesis. I also had the opportunity to present my work at multiple conferences, both orally and in poster-form.

Awards & Accolades

Student Commencement Speaker, Natural Sciences & Mathematics, UTD (2023)
NVIDIA GPU Award Best Poster Finalist, ACS National Conference (2023)
Merck Award for Outstanding Chemists of Color (2022)
Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant (2022)
2nd place presentation, Physical Chemistry section, ACS DFW MiM (2022)


Mills, K.R. "Expanding Access to Quality STEM Education in Texas", Policy Brief. Download

Mills, K.R., Misra, J., and Torabifard, H. "Allosteric Modulation of YAP/TAZ-TEAD Interaction by Palmitoylation and Small Molecule Inhibitors", BioRXiv,Link

Mills, K.R., and Torabifard, H. "Uncovering the Mechanism of the Proton-Coupled Fluoride Transport in the CLCF Antiporter", J Chem Inf Model, 2023, In Press Link

Mills, K.R., Baglia, R.A., Mitra, K., Tutol, J.N., Ball, D., Page, K.M., Kallu, J., Gottipolu, S., D'Arcy, S., Nielsen, S.O., and Dodani, S.C.. "An activity-based fluorescent sensor for the detection of the phenol sulfotransferase SULT1A1 in living cells", RSC Chem. Biol., 2021, 2, 830-834 Link
*This article is part of the themed collections: Analytical methods in chemical biology and RSC Chemical Biology Editors' Choice


Poster Presentation: 264th ACS National Meeting (2023) "Exploring the YAP/TAZ-TEAD protein interaction and its modulation by small molecules"
*This poster was one of three finalists for the NVIDIA GPU Award for best poster
Oral Presentation: ACS Southwest regional Meeting (2022) "Computational study of a YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitor"
Poster Presentation: University of Texas at Dallas Research Day (2022) "Uncovering mechanism of fluoride transport in CLCF protein"
Oral Presentation: 263rd ACS National Meeting (2022) "Investigation of coupled proton transport in CLCF F-/H+ antiporter"
Oral Presentation: ACS DFW Meeting in Miniature (2022) "Molecular Dynamics study of the proton-coupled transport in the CLCF F-/H+ antiporter"
*This presentation won 2nd place in the Physical/Computational section for best presentation
Oral Presentation: ACS Southwest Regional Meeting (2021) "Computational study of CLCF F-/H+ Antiporter Protein"
Oral Presentation: 255th ACS National Meeting (2018) "Diarylpyrolinol silyl ether as organocatalyst for asymmetric cycloaddition of α,β-unsaturated aldehydes to 3-hydroxyoxindoles to produce spirocyclic δ-lactones in aqueous media"
Oral Presentation: Texas National McNair Research Conference (2018) "Synthesis of spirocyclic δ-lactones by asymmetric organocatalytic reactions"
Poster Presentation: 14th Annual Pathways Student Research Symposium (2017) "Synthesis of spirocyclic δ-lactones..."
Oral Presentation: Gulf Coast Student Success Conference (2016) "Teaching Scientific Writing, Even as a Non-STEM Peer Educator"