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Strong K Presence at National Science Meeting

Six students presented research work at the annual ASBMB meeting. From left: Josh Abbott, Erran Briggs, Amanda Bolles, Mara Livezey, Michael Hicks, and Nic Sweda. Hicks is a biology major; the other five are majoring in chemistry.

Six Kalamazoo College students joined two of their chemistry professors and mentors (Regina Stevens-Truss and Laura Lowe Furge) at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology National Meeting in Boston, Mass. The students–Nicholas Sweda ’13, Mara Livezey ’13, Michael Hicks ’13, Josh Abbott ’13, Amanda Bolles ’14, and Erran Briggs ’14–presented results of their summer and academic year research experiences (Senior Individualized Projects in the cases of Nick and Josh). Nearly 300 posters from colleges across the country were part of the 17th Annual Undergraduate Student Research Poster Competition and Professional Development Workshop. Professor Furge was a judge in the competition.

The lab of Professor Paul Hollenberg at the University of Michigan was the site of Abbott’s SIP research on the role of CYP2B6 metabolism of the chemotherapeutic drug cyclophosphamide. The other five posters were based on research done at Kalamazoo College. Sweda presented ongoing studies from Professor Stevens-Truss’s lab on suramin selective inhibition of nitric oxide synthases. This work is the basis of a manuscript in preparation with Sweda and Alyssa McNamara ’11 as co-authors. Livezey, Hicks, Bolles, and Briggs each presented individual posters with results of three projects from Professor Furge’s lab on the interactions of inhibitors with human cytochrome P450 enzymes. The work presented by Bolles and Briggs is currently being prepared in a manuscript for publication with both students as co-authors along with Livezey. The posters presented by Hicks and Livezey are the basis of current NIH-funded studies in the Furge lab. In addition to the poster sessions, students attended talks, award lectures, and exhibits. Students also met with graduate school recruiters.

During the meeting, Professor Stevens-Truss directed her third annual teaching workshop for middle school and high school science teachers in the Boston area. The workshop attracted more than 70 teacher-participants from the Boston area, a record number for these ASBMB associated events. Professor Stevens-Truss’s efforts in structuring the workshops have provided a new platform for scientists to collaborate and mentor the nation’s secondary school science teachers. Scientists from across the country helped make the workshop a meaningful experience for school teachers. It was funded by a National Science Foundation grant to Stevens-Truss. Next year’s meeting will be in San Diego, Calif., and K expects to be there.

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