2011 News

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Rhodes Scientists Continue Research to Unlock Knowledge of Cell Wall Activity

Publication Date: 6/27/2011

As a result of a National Science Foundation grant, Rhodes researchers Drs. Terry Hill, Darlene Loprete and Loretta Jackson-Hayes involve students in their investigation of genes and proteins that play specific roles in the cell walls of the fungus Aspergillus nidulans. The funding also allows the Rhodes team to engage students from historically black institutions in the research.

This summer, Omolola Dawodu (pictured on the left), a senior biology major from Rust College, is participating. She says the eight-week program, which she learned about through a post on a school bulletin board, is providing her with the experience she needs to prepare for graduate school.

Claire DelBove (pictured below), who recently graduated cum laude with a B.S. degree in chemistry from Rhodes, is a returning lab member. Similarly she says, “Conducting research at a college like Rhodes has given me a great opportunity to work closely with professors which is really valuable, especially for graduate school.” DelBove will attend Vanderbilt University in the fall to pursue a degree in pharmacology.

The type of research that the team is conducting involves identifying the functions of two proteins—protein kinase C (PKC) and SccA—whose activity is essential to the structural integrity of fungal cell walls. Fungal cells, unlike human cells, have walls that affect the way cells grow. If researchers can get a better understanding of how the cell wall is assembled and functions, then antifungal drugs can be developed that have minimal side effects because they target the wall instead of interfering with comparable human cellular components.

Other student lab members this summer are biochemistry and molecular biology major Xiao Wang ’13, biology major Brianna Hoge ’12, and biochemistry and molecular biology Kristen Wendt ’14

Tags: Campus Life, Faculty, Grants, Students

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