Chemistry Projects 2013
Practical Applications for Introducing Stimulating Science in the Classroom
Faculty Mentors - Dr. Samuel Hudson and Tiffany Pawluk
This project will develop experiments to meet the core standards in science while at the same time make teaching and learning the fundamentals of science more approachable and fun. We will focus on designing hands-on experimental procedures that utilize inexpensive and readily available materials to complement the science curriculum of participating teachers. Teachers will gain experience in implementing experimental procedures in the classroom so their students will have the opportunity to do science instead of just read about science. Teachers from grades K-8 are particularly encouraged to apply. High school students who join this project will gain valuable experience working in a lab and will learn techniques for chemical handling and lab safety.
Metabolic Profiling of Peppers (Capsicum sps) and Evaluation of Capsaicinoids as Potential Antibiotics
Faculty Mentor - Dr. Roy LaFever
Peppers have been used extensively throughout human history for both culinary and medicinal uses. Peppers produce a variety of secondary natural products. In particular, pepper fruit accumulates several compounds known as capsaicinoids and leaf and root material accumulates a diterprene known as capsidiol. Little is known of the coordinated production of these two classes of secondary metabolites. The focus of this research is two-fold. First to examine the constituents of several pepper species through chemical means, and secondly to screen the pepper extracts for important biological activities. This type of research is ideally suited for a small group, or team. A group of secondary students and a team leading educator will cultivate peppers in the greenhouse and produce extracts from the plants for chemical analysis. This analysis will identify and quantify the isolated constituents in preparation for carrying out biological activity assays. The assays will examine antibacterial activity and insecticidal potential of the pepper extracts and the characterization of enzymes involved in secondary metabolite production. The skills obtained from this research will include basic chemical skills and laboratory techniques as well as hands-on experience utilizing sophisticated analytical instrumentation. In addition, the assays designed to screen for biological activities will expose the team to a highly interdisciplinary project that bridges the disciplines of chemistry, biochemistry, and biology.
Identification and Mutagenesis of Conserved Amino Acids in Lysyl Oxidase
Faculty Mentor - Dr. Karlo Lopez
Lysyl oxidase is a copper-dependent enzyme that plays many vital roles in biological systems. This project aims to understand how the primary sequence affects the function of the enzyme. Participants in the project will learn and use bioinformatics tools to identify conserved amino acids in the protein sequence, learn how proteins are transcribed and translated from DNA/RNA (overexpression), mutagenesis techniques, and cloning.
Chemistry and Sound
Faculty Mentor - Dr. David Saiki
Interested in learning about how one can use sound to study materials? In this project students and teachers will learn about acoustic resonance spectroscopy a new technique that has recently been utilized to study mixtures and solutions. In this technique, we send programmed sound pulses through a quartz rod and analyze the digitized data using computer programs. Students and teachers will learn how this technique works and will acquire data of real world materials such as, oatmeal, milk, and ferrofluids. Students and teachers will also learn how to use computers to analyze the experimental data. This project will also work to build circuits using Adruino circuit technology.
Synthesis of Small Molecule Inhibitors of Lysyl Oxidase
Faculty Mentor - Dr. Danielle Solano
Lysyl oxidase (LOX) is an enzyme that is believed to play a role in cancer metastasis, the spread of cancer to a new part of the body. Thus metastatic tumors can be treated, or even prevented if a method for decreasing the activity of the LOX enzyme can be developed. The goal of this project is to design and prepare several molecules that have the capability of inhibiting LOX. Once these new molecules have been made, they will be submitted to collaborators for testing against the LOX enzyme. This project is particularly suited for students interested in learning about synthetic organic chemistry, drug discovery, and medicinal chemistry.
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