Chemistry and Biochemistry News

Erika Harden, Chemistry ’14/MSFS’15 and adjunct professor in Forensic Sciences, completed all of the requirements to earn certification as a Certified Senior Crime Scene Analyst from the International Association for Identification. This certification is currently only held by four other professionals in the state of Maryland, and involves hours of preparation and training, letters of endorsement and a certification board exam.

During Biochemistry Integrative lab, students are asked to work in teams to brainstorm and create analogs of Cisplatin, a platinum based chemotherapeutic that is very prevalent in the clinic. Unfortunately, Cisplatin therapy can result in some annoying or even dangerous side effects ranging from tinnitus to nephrotoxicity. The four student authors created and synthesized an ethylenediamine-coordinated Platinum complex, and an ethylenediamine-coordinated Palladium complex, among others, and characterized it. They tested the drugs in live cancer cell line culture and compared the data to the native Cisplatin. They were encouraged by their faculty mentors, Drs Burkett and Dwyer, to collate the data and sumbit it for publication. Their paper finally appears in the December 2022 issue of AJUR Volume 19 Issue 3. Congratulations to these first-time authors!

ABOUT STUDENT AUTHORS
Samantha Rea and Brooke Hornberger graduated with their B.S. in Biochemistry Degree in December 2021, while Alexia Smith and Grace Fillmore graduated with their B.S. in Biochemistry Degree in May 2022.

The department of Chemistry and Biochemistry wishes students and colleagues a wonderful, restful holiday. We can’t wait to see you back on campus next year!

Luna Huynh, a chemistry and applied math double major, presented her independent research as part of the requirements to earn Honors in Chemistry. Her computational project was completed under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Ivey. Luna graduates this December and plans to pursue a graduate degree related to computational chemistry. Congratulations, Luna!

Did you know that the genetic emergence of lactose tolerance may have helped the Mongols defeat the Chinese? Biochemistry senior Aanchal Deol investigated another genetic variant that may predispose peoples exposed to famine conditions to hypertension and diabetes. She focused on higher methylation levels in two genes which creates a higher risk of these diseases. Her project attempted to draw a correlation to historically famine-exposed Chinese populations to modern day impoverished groups within the United States. She presented her work in poster format at the Honors Symposium. This is Aanchal’s second honors project.

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