Chemistry Projects

Dr. Sarah Forrester

Anticancer activity of chokeberry phytochemicals.

According to the American Cancer Society, colon cancer is the third most common type of cancer in the United States for both men and women.  Consumption of a healthy diet, including fruits and vegetables, may help prevent this disease.  Plant-based foods such as chokeberries are known to contain high levels of anticancer phytochemicals including caffeic acid (3-(3,4-Dihyroxyphenyl)-2-propenoic acid).  Previous work in our lab has shown that much of the anticancer activity of chokeberries may be due to the presence of caffeic acid; yet it is also clear that the anticancer activity is also due to other components.  In this project, we will study the effects of chokeberry-derived phytochemicals on specific cellular proteins that are involved in human colon cancer cell death and survival.  The techniques used will be mainly mammalian cell culture and western blotting.  Using these techniques, specific proteins in cancer cells can be detected and quantified.  This research may lead to new ways to treat and prevent colon cancer.