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SSRD 2022 Schedule

Room 9 Schedule: Collins 320

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  • 9:00 a.m. | LILY CLANCY | Fluorescence Titration Studies of RAPTA-C binding to Human Serum Albumin

    Cisplatin, a platinum-based drug, is currently the most effective metal-based drug being used for cancer treatment. There is motivation to synthesize ruthenium-based anticancer drugs to decrease side effects and treat a wider variety of cancers. This presentation will describe the synthesis of Ru(η6-p-cymene)Cl2(pta), or RAPTA-C, and its binding interactions with human serum albumin, the most abundant transporter protein in the body. Fluorescence spectroscopy was used to investigate drug-protein binding in different pH and chloride environments. A decrease in fluorescence intensity with addition of RAPTA-C indicates that the drug is binding to and/or altering the structure of HSA.

    Faculty Sponsor: Karen Holman
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 9:20 a.m. | ANGEL ESPINOZA ROBLES | SEERiously Cool Assays: Detecting Cisplatin Reacted DNA with β-Lactamase

    Cisplatin is a chemotherapeutic drug that can be detected using a β-lactamase split-protein biosensor based on a SEquence Enabled Reassembly (SEER) approach. In this system, an enzyme called β-lactamase is split in two with each half fused to either HMGB1 (LacA-HMGB1) or a zinc-finger domain (PBSII-LacB). HMGB1 binds to cisplatin-modified DNA and the zinc-finger binds to a specific DNA sequence. When both domains bind the same DNA molecule the two halves interact to form functional β-lactamase, causing a measurable color changing reaction with nitrocefin. Thus far, this biosensor has shown success in detecting relatively low concentrations of cisplatin-altered DNA.

    Faculty Sponsor: Karen Holman
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 9:40 a.m. | DANA HAMILTON | An investigation of the ruthenium-based anticancer drug RAPTA-C with the antioxidant glutathione in varying pH environments

    As part of a long-term research program investigating the mechanisms of action of various ruthenium-based anti-cancer drugs, in this study we focused on the interactions between the Ru-based drug RAPTA-C with the antioxidant glutathione. Our goal was to address three questions: (1) Do RAPTA-C and glutathione bind? (2) If so, on what specific location of the glutathione molecule does RAPTA-C bind? (3) Is this reaction pH dependent? We answered these questions using evidence obtained viaa 1H NMR and UV-Visible spectroscopy.

    Faculty Sponsor: Karen Holman
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 10:00 a.m. | CLARISSA LYDIA LINCOLN | Determination of Isobaric Interferences for 17α-Ethynylestradiol in Wastewater and Natural Waters by Ultra-High Resolution Mass Spectrometry

    17α-Ethynylestradiol (EE2) is an endocrine disrupting hormone used in many oral contraceptives. Literature concentrations of EE2 often exceed values predicted by mass balance models. We theorize that isobaric interferences cause these systematic overestimates and that surfactants are likely sources due to their ubiquity. Ultra-high resolution mass spectrometry (MS) data from archived wastewater and river water was used to identify interferences and hypothesize structures, pointing to common surfactants with the same nominal mass as EE2. We determined that under typical chromatographic conditions, linear alkyl benzene sulfonate (LAS) surfactants co-elute with EE2, suggesting they may be responsible for EE2 overestimates.

    Faculty Sponsor: David Griffith
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 10:30 a.m. | DEVYN MANDALA | Purification and Functional Characterization of a Recombinant Putative Halide Methyltransferase From the Moss Physcomitrella patens

    Methyl chloride/bromide contributes to the destruction of the ozone layer. These molecules are naturally produced by plants containing an S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAM)-dependent halide methyltransferase enzyme. The moss called Physcomitrella patens contains a putative SAM-dependent halide methyltransferase (PpHOL) enzyme that has been partially purified. Attempts were made to characterize its substrate specificity using an indirect colorimetric assay. The PpaHOL protein was overexpressed in E. coli and partially purified using sonication and Ni-affinity chromatography. Enzyme activity was assayed using Cl- and SCN- as the substrates. Unfortunately, no activity was detected possibly due to imidazole being a reducer inhibiting the assay reaction.

    Faculty Sponsor: Alison Fisher
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 10:50 a.m. | BRADY MCDEVITT | The Formation and Determination of Halogenated Estrogen Photoproducts under Simulated Solar Irradiance

    Halogenated estrogens are a family of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are formed during the chlorine-based treatment of wastewater. When exposed to sunlight, these halogenated estrogens degrade and produce various estrogenic transformation products whose structures and toxicity are largely unknown. In this study, we used a solar simulator and liquid chromatography to produce and characterize the photoproducts of 2,4-dibromoestradiol (diBrE2). We determined that diBrE2 photolysis produces transformation products that are more polar than diBrE2. Efforts to utilize Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) to identify exact photoproduct structures are ongoing.

    Faculty Sponsor: Karen Holman
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 11:10 a.m. | SHIONE MOCHIZUKI | Effect of Coordinating Cations on the Stability and Response Efficiency of Quadruplex Molecular Beacons

    In this study, we examined the function of a Quadruplex Molecular Beacon (QMB) biosensor which shows a fluorescent signal on binding to microRNA-21 (a cancer-associated biomarker) in the presence of common biological cations (K+, Na+, and Li+). Our results show that while our sensor performs well in both Na+ and K+, the stability of the QMB follows a trend known in the literature: K+ > Na+ >> Li+, and the speed of sensor response is not significantly impacted by cation identity. Our findings suggest that the QMB sensor is stable and has an efficient and rapid response to microRNA-21 under physiological conditions.

    Faculty Sponsor: Cooper Battle
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 11:30 a.m. | MELISSA DUNCAN | Analyzing and Comparing the Thermodynamics of a Variety of Quadruplexes

    Quadruplex molecular beacons (QMBs) are DNA strands that have shown promise in research for cancer screening. This specific project focuses on assessing quadruplex stability, as it is a significant challenge for creating sensors. We were specifically interested at looking at the differing melting temperatures, as well as entropy, enthalpy, and Gibbs free energy. This was found using a variety of analysis methods, such as Van’t Hoff analysis. All data was obtained by taking the absorbance values of each QMB using a UV-Visible spectrophotometer as a function of changing temperature, with graphs being created using Origin Pro.

    Faculty Sponsor: Cooper Battle
    Discipline: Chemistry

  • 2:20 p.m. | KELLI O'BRIEN | Effects of SARS-CoV-2 Outbreak on Mental Health: An Analysis of Resiliency in United States College Students

    In March of 2020, the United States issued mandatory quarantines in an attempt to contain the global outbreak of the SARS-CoV-2 virus which has caused over 6 million deaths worldwide. The resulting lockdowns helped stem the tide of the pandemic but had adverse impacts on mental health particularly for those without resilient coping skills. Specifically, we found increased resiliency decreased the anxiety and depression participants reported during quarantine and decreased the prevalence of depressive language in participants writing about the pandemic. The outcomes of this study can be used to inform development of protective measures for students as the pandemic continues.

    Faculty Sponsor: Jeremy Miller
    Discipline: Psychology

  • 2:40 p.m. | ALLEGRA STARR | Financialization and Rising Household Debt: A Precarious Reliance Disproportionately Impacting Lower-Income Americans

    Profits in the financialized U.S. market arise increasingly not from the creation of commodities or provision of traditional services but from fees generated from the finance, insurance and real estate industries. Central to the continued success of this structure is a steady stream of debt. I examined the role financialization plays in increasing household debt, and how lower-income households are disproportionately impacted, which contributes to increasing income inequality. In particular, the push for rising levels of debt has stimulated an increase in four problematic types of consumer debt: student, auto, and micro-credit/payday loans, and unsecured non-loan medical debt.

    Faculty Sponsor: Yan Liang
    Discipline: Economics

  • 3:10 a.m. | JULIA WRIGHT | Can Wettability Predict Cell Adhesion? Using Laser Ablation to Improve the Biointegration of Titanium Implants
    Surface texturing of orthopedic and dental implants has been shown to significantly reduce a patient’s recovery time and improve the long-term performance of the implant. Recently, laser ablation has been suggested as a method of texturing these surfaces. Directly testing the biocompatibility of textured implants by growing cells responsible for bone growth on them is tedious and time-consuming. However, measuring wettability instead –a quicker macroscopic measurement– will allow us to efficiently characterize a wider variety of ablation parameters. Initial data suggest that moderately hydrophobic titanium surfaces are good candidates for biointegration.
    Faculty Sponsor: David Altman
    Discipline: Physics
  • 3:30 p.m. | CASSIE STOFFER | Switchable Wettability of Laser Ablated Brass for Use in Oil/Water Separation
    Laser ablated brass can effectively separate oil and water due to its hydro-phobic (water-repelling) and oleo-philic (oil-attracting) properties. This wettability can be switched to hydrophilic/oleophobic via heat treatment and returns to its hydrophobic/oleophilic state over time. This cycle is sped up significantly by immersing samples in an ultrasonic isopropyl alcohol bath. The result is a time-efficient switchable wettability cycle that can be applied to create recyclable oil/water separating filters that show exciting potential in effectively cleaning up oil spills.
    Faculty Sponsor: Michaela Kleinert
    Discipline: Physics
  • 3:50 p.m. | ALBERT RAMON | Testing Different Methods For Estimating Peculiar Velocities Using Simulations

    Many individual galaxy velocity measurements are required to study large-scale flows through the Universe and test whether they are consistent with the standard Big Bang model. However, measuring velocities requires distance estimates, and these are complicated by the fact that we actually measure distance modulus, related to the log of the distance. The conversion of distance modulus to distance results in a biased estimate, meaning that distances are on average overestimated. In this project we will be testing two different methods of dealing with this bias, one that is a formula and another that is based upon a probability distribution.

    Faculty Sponsor: Richard Watkins
    Discipline: Physics

Willamette University

Student Scholarship Recognition Day

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