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  • Anna G

Tristan Hand is from Cincinnati, Ohio, and is going to be attending his second year of college at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College working on his Associate of Science degree. He is still undecided about what field of science he wants to go into when he progresses in his education. This summer, he works in Dr. Pietro Strobbia’s Optical Sensors lab at the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Strobbia’s labs develops surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) biosensors. This sort of spectroscopy attempts to detect and identify specific targets such as disease biomarkers, viral RNA, exosomes, and small molecules. The real-world applications of these sensors include finding new ways to detect cancer, food contaminants, diseases, and viruses such as SARS-CoV-2. Through the REU and Dr. Strobbia’s mentorship, Tristan is learning nanoparticle synthesis, sensor design, advanced instrumental techniques, lab safety, and data analysis. The experience of the REU will help Tristan gain new skills as well as narrow down and pinpoint how he wants to move forward in his scientific career after he earns his Associates degree.



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  • Anna G

Hello, my name is Zion Graham and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I recently graduated from Cincinnati State Technical and Community College with my Associates of Science Pre-Pharmacy and plan to further my education at UC and get into their pharmacy program and soon obtain my bachelors degree. I always had an interest in becoming a pharmacist and I enjoy the chemistry work that comes with it. This summer I am working in Prof. George Stan’s lab along with his grad students. This is a Computation Chemistry lab that works with the Ubuntu Linux operating system. The research that is being conducted involves the study of the ClpB Disaggregation Biological Nanomachine. ClpB is an ATP-dependent molecular chaperone that belongs to the Hsp100 family of ATPases. We are using computer simulations to probe the conformational dynamics of ClpB. We will be using the GROMACS software program-to perform coarse-grained simulations using the Smog2 model to investigate the molecular dynamics of ClpB. These techniques along with data analysis allow for distances at a molecular level to be measured.


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  • Anna G

Landon Ashlin is a rising senior at Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, where he is studying Computational Chemistry with a minor in Physics. This summer he is working under the guidance of Professor George Stan to understand the application of molecular dynamics simulations to analyze the ClpB chaperone activity of rescue proteins from aggregation. ClpB is needed for protein disaggregation and it is critical to prevent protein aggregation during severe stress conditions. The goal of this project is to optimize scaling parameters of the SMOG coarse-grained model to best match Root Mean Square Fluctuation (RSMF) values with those obtained using the all-atom model. To this end, he is using Visual Molecular Dynamics (VMD), PyMOL, and GROMACS programs to run simulations and analyze the results.