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  • Writer's pictureAnna G

My name is Nathan Junker. I am a fourth-year undergraduate student who will graduate in the spring with a BS in chemistry. After graduation I plan to work abroad for a year, followed by attending grad school for either pharmacy, chemistry, or chemical engineering. I am working in the White lab under Dr. Celeste Rousseau. We are working to improve our electrochemical aptamer-based (E-AB) sensors which will ultimately be used to detect biomolecules in vivo. These sensors are composed of synthetic DNA strands (aptamers) which fold to bind a particular target, for which the DNA sequence is specific. In E-AB sensors, the aptamers are typically attached to gold electrode surfaces via a gold-sulfur bond though a 5’ sulfhydryl group. These sensors detect target molecules with high specificity due to a conformational change that changes the rate of electron transfer between the Au surface and methylene blue, a redox reporter covalently attached to the 3’ end of the aptamer. Self-assembled monolayers are adsorbed on the electrode surface to prevent fouling and nonspecific redox reactions from occurring at the gold surface. I am studying the effects of using ethanol as a solvent in the preparation of the self-assembled monolayer as well as the effects of identity of the self-assembled monolayers with an emphasis on the longevity of the sensors.

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  • Writer's pictureAnna G

My name is Ariana Martinez-Alamo, and I am a Forensic Chemistry student at Ohio University. This summer, I am thrilled to join Dr. Hairong Guan's lab, working under the guidance of Bedraj Pandey and Dulmini Jayawardhena. Our research focuses on developing efficient and cost-effective homogeneous catalysts using transition metals like nickel, cobalt, iron, and copper. We hope to produce catalysts with similar reactivity to precious metals by investigating ligands that strongly bind to these metals. I'm now working on developing a reproducible synthetic route for a new compound. My participation in these projects has provided me with valuable skills in handling sensitive compounds and conducting mechanistic studies using techniques like NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, and chemical kinetics. In addition, I have gained an understanding of the significance of energy efficiency and sustainability in catalytic reactions. This involves utilizing renewable resources and easily accessible materials to promote environmentally friendly practices. This research experience goes beyond classroom learning, and I am excited to further expand my knowledge and skills this summer.

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  • Writer's pictureAnna G

Hello! I’m Carter St. Clair and I am going into my fourth year as a biochemistry major at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois. When I graduate, I hope to apply to graduate school and earn my Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry or potentially biochemistry. With my degree, I hope to pursue pharmaceutical discovery research or academia. This summer, I am working with the Dima lab under my mentor Amanda Macke. We are generating and analyzing graph networks for the ring conformation of spastin, a microtubule severing enzyme. This process elucidates key residues as part of the communication network throughout the enzyme, known as an allosteric network. We then compare the analysis of allosteric networks for the ring conformation with that of the spiral conformation previously studied and published. This will allow us to understand how allostery changes upon conformational transitions which is becoming an essential aspect of drug discovery and design. In addition, mutations of this enzyme are associated with a number of neurological disorders such as the hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP). Therefore, it is important to establish the baseline for the allostery of the enzyme to better understand the effect of HSP mutations and possible ways to address potential allosteric modulator designs.

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