Six Students Present Catalyst Research

The summer Catalyst participants - Rachel Karam ‘19, Emma Kaplan ‘19, Dominic Joseph ‘19, Olivia Robida ‘19, Jack Michael Solomon ‘19 and Dominic Alexander ‘19 - preented summaries of their research this week during two after-school symposia. Research topics included “Anti-cancer drug screening on endometrial cancer cell lines,” “Role of UPF2 in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay,” “Silent synapses and the Alzheimer’s disease,” “Application of cyclodextrin as an affinity-based drug delivery system,” Polymerized cyclodextrin (P-CD) in targeted drug delivery,” and “Understanding mitochondrial abnormalities in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Read abstracts of each of the projects below:

Catalyst Symposia

Wednesday, October 24
4:15 Anti-cancer drug screening on endometrial cancer cell lines by Rachel Karam
Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic malignancy, accounting for 4% of cancer- related deaths in woman in the United States. Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) regulates cellular processes such as the cell cycle, growth, metabolism, apoptosis, and also acts as a tumor suppressor protein. Mutation of PP2A has been observed at high frequency in endometrial cancers. Rachel worked with Dr. Goutham Narla at Case Western Reserve University to understand how mutated PP2A plays a role in tumor formation. She also tested anticancer drug activity in endometrial cancer cell lines.

4:45 Role of UPF2 in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay by Emma Kaplan
Nonsense mutations in genes often lead to shortened proteins, which may or may not function appropriately. An estimated one-third of all inherited genetic disorders, including cystic fibrosis and some forms of cancer, are the result of nonsense mutations. Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a surveillance pathway present in all eukaryotic cells that reduces errors in the gene expression by eliminating aberrant mRNAs. Emma Kaplan worked with Sarah Nock and Lucas Serdar in the lab of Dr. Baker at Case Western Reserve University to study the role of Upf-2 protein in NMD pathway.

5:15 Silent synapses and the Alzheimer’s disease by Dominic Joseph
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the seventh-leading cause of death in America. Patients with AD struggle with mood changes, vision loss, memory loss, personality changes, and much more. There are currently no treatments that could stop the disease progression. Dominic Joseph worked with Dr. Matthew Smith in the lab of Dr. Christine Crish at Northeast Ohio Medical University to study the relationship between AMPA-Receptor silencing and disease progression in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, October 25
4:15 Application of cyclodextrin as an affinity-based drug delivery system by Olivia Robida
Administering drugs locally rather than systemically is a common way to decrease side effects and drug toxicity while maximizing a treatment’s impact. Drugs with poor solubility, unpleasant taste and low physicochemical stability pose a delivery challenge. Olivia has been working with Dr. Horst von Recum in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the Case Western Reserve University to explore naturally occurring cyclodextrins as drug delivery vehicles.


Mailing Address

34001 Cedar Road, Gates Mills, Ohio 44040
phone: (440) 473-8000

Campus Addresses
An independent, Catholic, coed, day and boarding school in the Holy Cross tradition. Toddler-grade 12.