Sarah Mullen, College of Wooster
Sarah is a rising senior at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. This summer she is working in the Dima research lab, where she is computationally studying microtubule severing enzymes. These severing enzymes depolymerize and cause internal breaks in the microtubule lattice. Microtubule severing enzymes are responsible for the reorganization of microtubules in mitosis and meiosis, and they play important roles in cell motility, structure, and support. Sarah is working on two projects related to microtubule severing enzymes. The first project’s goal is to better understand the mechanism of microtubule severing enzymes. To do this, she is using coarse-grained modeling to see how the interaction strength of the severing enzyme to the microtubule affects the mechanism. For the second project she is looking at the monomers of the severing enzyme to better understand the possible secondary structural conformational changes. To accomplish this, she is taking protein trajectory data that was previously collected from molecular dynamics simulations and applying a type of unsupervised machine learning called clustering.