2014 FUTURE Student (Class of 2018)
When I was five years old, my mom bought me a lab kit which fueled my passion for science. Ever since, I have been intrigued byhow molecules and proteins form complex structures through biological processes. As the first person in my family to attend college, the FUTURE program gave me the opportunity to spend my pre-college summer working alongside Prof. Julia Koeppe in her laboratory. In my study of the complexities of protein-protein interactions I learned how to perform protein purification and pull down assays. I formed a close relationship with Dr. Koeppe and her research team, including my FUTURE Mentor, Dan DeHelian, ’15, and with researchers in other labs at Ursinus. I hope to continue doing research with Dr. Koeppe throughout my career at Ursinus. I also hope to become a cardiovascular surgeon to help patients specifically suffering from heart defects and malformations.
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Over the summer I studied protein-protein interactions between the lectin-like domain of thrombomodulin, (TM), and complement component 3 under the mentorship of Dr. Koeppe and Dan DeHelian. We first isolated our proteins from Bovine plasma by expressing the TM in yeast cells. Then, we ran the plasma through various columns to precipitate out proteins in the plasma we did not need. Once we determined we had both purified complement C3 and TM from running an SDS-PAGE Gel, we performed a protein pull down assay to see if there was an interaction between Complement C3 and TM. Currently, we are in the process of performing hydrogen deuterium exchange, Florescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), and Mass Spectrometry, which are all ways of determining if TM is interacting with complement C3. If we determine TM is regulating the complement system, implications of this research include treatments for patients that suffer from ailments that involve inflammation, such as sepsis.
Because of my FUTURE laboratory experience, I was able to present at a conference during my first semester at Ursinus. At the conference - the17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium held at University of Maryland, Baltimore - I learned the importance of attention to detail in order to be a better scientist. I was fortunate enough to walk around and meet many other researchers just like myself who were more than happy to present their research to me. I was intrigued by many students there, and I can’t wait to travel to more conferences in the future.
Life After Ursinus
As the first person in my family to attend college, the FUTURE program gave me the opportunity to spend my pre-college summer working alongside Prof. Julia Koeppe in her research on interactions between proteins.