Chemistry and Biochemistry News

Science camp wrapped up last week after five fun filled days. The rising 6th-8th graders participated in week long projects in robotics, neuroscience, environmental science and space science. The teams competed all week to make a Rube Goldberg machine to pop a balloon and on Friday to complete team tasks in a scavenger hunt. Also at the end of the week, they observed cool demos with liquid nitrogen and enjoyed liquid nitrogen ice cream. The day was capped off with water bottle rockets. Science camp always runs shortly after school lets out in June.

Chemistry faculty member, Dr. Tracey Mason attended attended a one-day symposium at Virginia Commonwealth University last Friday, honoring her graduate mentor Dr. Nicholas Farrell (standing left) The title of the symposium, Role of Inorganic Chemistry in Biology and Medicine was attended by collaborators from all over the world. Dr. Farrell is known for his work in trans platinum chemotherapeutics.

Dr. Schreck is pictured in green, Angelica third from right, Dr. Kossoff at far right, with other members of the MINDS

Since graduation in May, alumna Angelica Lackey (Biochem ’18) has been working with the Metabolism in Neurologic Diseases (MINDs) group at Johns Hopkins. Comprised of specialists from pediatric and adult neurology, this “meeting of the MINDS” convenes to discuss the current and potential use of metabolic therapy for improving patient outcomes. The members of this team are world-renowned experts in clinical applications of dietary therapy for neurologic disease and use of ketogenic diets variants (e.g. classical ketogenic diet, modified Atkins diet (MAD)) especially in managing and treating refractory epilepsies. Growing interest in the adjuvant therapy is indicated as clinical trials are being conducted for brain cancers, multiple sclerosis, and psychiatric disorders. Angelica is working with her capstone mentor, Dr. Kossoff, and another member of the group, Dr. Schreck has been helping Angelica and Dr. Rebecca Burgess of the biology department work through their research started last year on the effects of the ketogenic diet on glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. Angelica presented her research from Stevenson to the group, and will be presenting again in September.

Biochemistry junior Olivia Apicella is spending 10 weeks of her summer vacation in the laboratory. This is Olivia’s second independent research experience with Chemistry faculty member Dr. Will Harrell. She, along with chemistry majors Joe Kittelberger and Sarah Riggin are synthesizing tripheynyl methane derivatives that can serve as anion binder and transporter molecules. These transporters, if effective, can help with the fundamental buildup of chloride in the lung cells of patients with cystic fibrosis. Olivia has chosen to continue her work with Dr. Harrell because she had a lot of fun in her first independent research experience. The summer research experience is more in depth than what can happen during the semester, and students have opportunities to not only learn new lab skills, but to practice their oral presentation skills through weekly journal club meetings with other summer research students in the School of the Sciences.

As high school graduation ceremonies are happening all over the area, we couldn’t help but notice our future Mustangs standing out from the crowd. With Mustang Days quickly approaching, we invite our future students to learn more about the School of the Sciences through our blogs, our Facebook page and our Instagram. We look forward to seeing your faces on campus later this month!