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  • Writer's pictureAnna G

Carter St. Clair

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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