Fall 2016:

Jr. Research Symposia in Biochemistry

  • 4:00 Philip Monka,  (Advisor, Andrew Smith)
        "Slug-Glue Gel Synthesis"                                 
  • 4:15 Rebecca DiFabio, (Advisor, Dave Gondek)                                             
        "Designing the pEGFP-MCL-1 vector"
  • 4:30  Flora Tierney,    (Advisor, Jean Hardwick)
         "Characterizing the Roles of Neuropeptide Y Receptors"

Fall 2015:

Katie Luckett ('16) received a travel award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Education (FUN) to attend the Society for Neuroscience meetings with Jean Hardwick. This international conference is attended by ~30,000 scientists from around the world.  Katie presented the research she has been working in Jean's lab over the past two years, which focuses on the role of neuropeptides in neuronal regulation of the heart.  Katie also received support the H&S student travel fund and the Biology Department for her attendance at this conference.

Summer 2015:

Ben Jung ('16). Poster presentation.” Investigating the regulation of splicing of RPS30 paralogs that arose form genome duplication in S. cerevisiae”. Northeast Regional Meeting of American Chemical Society. Ithaca College. June 2015. Ben also won a poster award. (Advisor, Maki Inada)

Fall 2014:

Annual Society for Neuroscience meetings in Washington DC. November 2014.

  • Biochemistry majors Emily Powers ('15) and Katie Luckett ('16) presented their research, performed in collaboration with Jean Hardwick.  The research examined how neurons controlling the heart are altered with chronic heart disease.  Emily Powers received a travel award from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience to support her attendance at the conference. Both students were also supported by the EGI fund and the Bernard Fund from the Biology department. This years Society for Neuroscience meetings included 31,263 attendees from 86 countries, 3,837 posters, and 15,510 presenters.

Spring 2014:

Whalen Symposium. April 2014.

Ruby Benn (Biochemistry ’15) presented, “Investigating the Role of Carboxy-Terminal Domain of RNA Polymerase II in Chromatin Remodeling and Gene Expression in Schizosaccharomyces pombe.”

(Faculty Sponsor: Maki Inada)

Lauren Ryan (Biochemistry ’16) presented, “Decisions, Decisions: Analysis of Sequence Alignment for the Genus Guarnia

(Faculty Sponsor: Susan Swensen Witherup)

Spring 2013:

Sarah Rabice, Biochemisty ’13 (Andy Smith), “Glue from the Slug Arion subfuscus”. The 67th Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference, Providence College

  • Won a best presentation award for the Biochemistry section.

James Whalen Symposium Presentation Winners:

 Andrew Becker (Biochemistry ’14). Oral Presentation. A New Method for the Synthesis of Organic Polymer Bone Scaffolds (Michael Haaf)

Joshua Messinger (Biochemistry ’14). Poster Presentation. I Can Grow There Too: Survey of Host Species Specific Growth of Chlamydia (David Gondek)

Fall 2011: 

Adam Longwich, Biochemistry '13, (Susan Swensen), oral session at the Rochester Academy of Sciences annual fall meeting hosted by Monroe Community College.  His presentation entitled "Molecular Phylogenetic Reconstruction of the Neotropical Cucumber Genus Gurania" described his ongoing research under the supervision of  in the Biology Department. Adam was a recipient of a research grant from the Rochester Academy of Sciences in spring 2011.

Rachel Noyes (Biochemistry ’13) & David Burgess. Poster Presentation. "Micromere cell membranes in Lytechinus pictus embryos have distinct properties".  2011 SACNAS National Conference. San Jose, CA.   October 2011.  She was in an REU (research experience for undergraduates) and the MBL (marine biological laboratories).  Her advisor was David Burgess.   Also there is an article on the MBL site about my program with a picture of me  Rachel also received a H&S EGI Award to help defray the conference costs.


 Developing embryos undergo numerous cell divisions following distinct differentiation pathways before maturing into complex organisms. In sea urchins beginning as early as the fourth division specialization occurs in the vegetal cells as an unequal division gives birth to macromeres and micromeres. These micromeres lose adhesion, migrate inside of the blastula, and give rise to the larval skeleton and germ cells. They have been found to vary from other cells of the embryo in more than just size and transcriptome though. Others have noted that these micromeres generally lack microvilli. Since microvillar membranes found on the apical surfaces of epithelial cells contain lipid rafts rich in gangliosides and cholesterol, we questioned whether membranes of micromeres lack such lipids. Using spinning disc confocal microscopy we observed the presence of gangliosides through use of fluorescent cholera toxin B in fixed and in live dissociated blastomeres giving birth to micromeres. In fixed blastomeres, the presence of an even actin rich cortex was observed on all cells by the use of fluorescent phalloidin. In contrast to the even distribution of actin, the cell membranes in micromeres were found to lack cholesterol rich lipid rafts observed on all other cells of the embryo likely due to the loss of apical membrane components caused by the unique division that leads to these cells.  The process of cell division, where new membrane is delivered via exocytosis, may result in micromeres lacking “apical” cell surfaces found in the cells of the blastula.

Check out the NCUR presentations by our majors.

National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), University of Montana, Missoula, Montana April 2010   

  • Philip Feinberg,  Biochemistry ’11 (Jean Hardwick), "Preliminary Molecular Analysis of NOS MRNA Expression in Guinea Pig Neurons"
  • Krista Fieselmann, Biochemistry ’10 (Andy Smith), “Testing for Oxidate Cross-Linking by an Adhesive Protein in the  Biological Glue of a Terrestrial Slug"
  • Matthew Zeitler, Biochemistry ’10 ( Andy Smith), "The Role of Zinc in Cross-Linking the Glue Secreted by A. subfuscus"

American Chemical Society National Meeting at San Francisco, CA, March 2010. 

  • Josh Roaf and Alex Levine, both Biochemistry ’10 (Mike Haaf).  Poster “Lactide Polymerization with Chiral Aluminum Catalysts”
  • Shanique Edwards, Biochemistry ’10  (Keri Lee). Poster “Synthesis and Enzymatic Degradation of Polymeric-Ceramic Composites as Potential Bone Substitutes

The annual James J. Whalen Academic Symposium , Spring 2010.

  • Philip Feinberg, Biochemistry ’11 (Jean Hardwick), "Preliminary molecular analysis of NOS expression in guinea pig neurons"
  • Philip Feinberg, Biochemistry, ’11 (Maki Inada), "Investigating Regulation of Gene Expression in the Fission Yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe"     

Honors Research in Biochemistry (2009)

  • Jason Diaz (supervised by Marina Caillaud) “Contribution of bacterial symbiosis to host-plant preference in the pea aphid”
  • Eric Van Fleet (supervised by Marina Caillaud) “Differential gene expression patterns in host-specialized pea aphids”

Bryan Stefek '09 presented "Production of Hydrogen Cyanide in Chromobacterium violacium Is under Quorum Sensing Control" at the Rochester chapter of the American Chemical Society.  2009.  The research was carried out with Scott Ulrich in the chemistry department.

Honors Research in Biochemistry (2008)

  • Lei Mi-Mi  (Supervised by Marina Caillaud) “Analysis of two host races of the pea aphid using
       microarray technology

  • Pamela Ronco (Supervised by Ed Cluett) "Effects of phospholipase A2 inhibitors on the processing of amyloid precursor protein

Eric VanFleet, Martin Tomov and Vicki Cameron (2008).  NCUR, Salisbury, MD.  April 2008. "Deletion of the Nuclear Gene YME1 Stabilizes Mutant forms of Cox2p".

Samantha Palmer (Marina Caillaud). (2006) Poster Presentation. “Variation in gene expression in caterpillars of the tobacco hornworm”. Samantha received an honorary award for her poster.

Martin Tomov and Vicki Cameron  (2006).  Regional Sigma Xi Meeting, Cornell University. "Stabilization of mutant forms of Cox2p by deletion of YME1 and overexpression of PETIII".