Sunday, November 20, 2016

Biochemistry Major Khai Pham Presents at ACS Meeting

Last month biochemistry student Khai Pham presented a poster at the 51st Midwest Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society.  Her poster was titled A Novel Benchtop Time-of-Flight GC-MS System for High Throughput Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Drugs of Abuse in Human Urine and is now on display on the walls of Northside Hall.  Clicking on the title will take to you a larger version of the poster that is readable.  This poster details work done by Pham and colleagues at Leco Corporation this past summer where she completed an internship.  She collaborated with Adjunct Professor David Alonso who works at Leco full time, but generously teaches organic chemistry laboratories for us in the evenings.  Leco is an international company with its world headquarters not so far away in Saint Joseph, Michigan.  They produce many types of analytical equipment and develop testing procedures for these devices.

Presenting at this regional conference is a step-up for Pham who last year tied for best presentation in the Natural Science Division of our campus's Undergraduate Research Conference describing research she helped conduct during the prior summer at the Eck Institute for Global Health of the University of Notre Dame. With two summer research experiences and two conference posters under her belt, Pham is rounding out her resume very nicely.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Chemistry Picnic on Campus next Monday

Chemistry and biochemistry majors unite!  Join us at our fall celebration pinic to meet classmates, alumni, and professors. Model your lab coats and show us your tie-dyed apparel. Get to know your fellow majors and network for opportunities (research, tutoring, scholarships, and internships). Eat pizza and play corn hole.  Bring your appetite and any questions you might have about our program.

When?     Monday, September 19, 5:00 PM
Where?   Riverside Pavilion (across the street from Northside)

Be there, or be cyclobutane!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

RCMed Review Fellowship Winner Returns

In the Spring, biochemistry major  Alexandra Hochstetler won the RCMed Review Fellowship and chose to research this past Summer at the South Bend campus of the IU School of Medicine  with Professor of Pediatrics, Dr. Margaret Schwarz. Hochstetler spent the summer studying the role of the protein EMAP-II in lung development at the molecular and the cellular levels. A particular project investigated the development of mice which lacked the genes that code for EMAP-II. Hochstetler describes her experience as "awesome" because she got to do "new things everyday". It must have indeed been awesome as Hochstetler will continue to work with Dr. Schwarz during the school year.

Hochstetler is grateful for this opportunity which allowed her to further develop her critical thinking and trouble shooting skills. She also learned to see how the work of individual research teams fits within the big picture of scientific discovery. Hochstetler plans to take a year "off" after college to carry out some more laboratory research, then go to medical school, and finally work in medical research.

Our campus will be accepting applications for next year's RCMed Review Fellowship in the Spring semester. If you are interested in this fellowship or other research opportunities, please contact your favorite biology, chemistry, or biochemistry professor for details.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Biology Chemistry Club Welcomes Students

The Biology Chemistry Club welcomed new students this week by helping them make “slime” and blowing off steam launching film cans into the air with Alkaseltzer and water. They also displayed several examples from the biological world with molecular models. The club has plans for science outreach, tie-dyeing lab coats, tours of local industries, guest speakers from academia and industry, informational panels from medical school admissions, and, of course, the traditional end of year geek party. For more information about the club you can check them out on Facebook and their university site.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Summer Research in the Anderson Lab

Niles High School student Madeline Stanton and biochemistry major Victor Gutierrez-Schultz have been working with Professor Gretchen Anderson this summer to correct a mutation in the enzyme, arsenite oxidase. The two genes for the enzyme (one gene for each subunit) were cloned into E. coli by previous IU South Bend students, but along the way, a mutation was introduced in the smaller subunit. Victor analyzed the sequencing data from last year (thanks to 2016 biochemistry graduate Jared LaRue), found the mutation, and used genetic engineering to fix the mutation back to its native nucleotide. Both Madeline and Victor then worked together to confirm that the mutation was indeed fixed, and are now sequencing the two genes to determine if any further mutations were introduced during the fix.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Summer Research in the Muna Lab

David Aupperle is making the transition between his freshman and sophomore year as a chemistry major - and he isn't taking the easy road.  He is spending most of his summer in Professor Muna's laboratory learning and applying electrochemistry.  David's project is to develop a stable palladium modified electrode that offers long term stability and efficiency in catalyzing the electro-oxidation of steroid hormones. The ultimate goal is to employ this electrode for electrochemical detection of steroid hormones in water. 

David is the first student to be awarded the new Carolyn & Lawrence Garber Summer Research Scholarship which provides support for full-time research for one lucky student in the department.  David plans to attend graduate school to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry.  With interests in education, he is uncertain whether to pursue a career in industry or academics - but he has plenty of time to decide.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Summer Research in the Rizk Lab

Biochemistry Professor Shahir Rizk has three students working with him on three separate projects. The first is Pierre-Emmanuel N'Guetta [left photo], an international student from Ivory Coast majoring in biology.  He is continuing a research project that began in the Fall semester with the CHEM-C 486 (biochemistry laboratory) students designing a biosensor for glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide RoundUp . Pierre plans to pursue a career in the medical field.

Next up are Michele Costantino (left) and Riley Bigelow (right) shown in the second photo.  Both students are biochemistry majors funded by SMART grants (student-mentor academic research team).  Michele is working on engineering reversible self-assembly of biological molecules with applications in the design of new nano materials and biosensors. She hopes to continue doing research at the graduate level.

Riley is working on engineering new proteins that can modulate the activity of enzymes with the hope of rescuing a dysfunctional enzyme that is caused by genetic mutations associated with inherited severe combined immune deficiency (SCID). This is a deadly disease with very few treatment options. She will also be investigating whether this technology can be applied to other genetic disorders.