Catalyst Winter Symposium

Congratulations to Danny Laurita '19, Elizabeth Espenschied '19, Yifan (Michelle) Wang '19, Angeline Monitello '19, Ziming (Aaron) Zhao '19 and Gabe Gainar '19, who completed semester-long science research projects at Case Western Reserve University, Swagelok and Cleveland State University.
Modification of UPF1 Protein in Nonsense-Mediated mRNA Decay by Elizabeth Espenschied
Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) is a surveillance mechanism that degrades mRNA containing premature termination codons to eliminate potentially harmful shortened proteins produced by such mRNAs. NMD underlies the severity of many genetic diseases such as beta- thalassemia and muscular dystrophy. Aberrant mRNA can be translated into partially functional protein if not degraded by NMD pathway, which in some cases might be better than to have no protein at all. UPF1, UPF2, and UPF3 are key proteins involved in NMD pathway. Elizabeth worked with Dr. Kristian Baker’s team at Case Western Reserve University to study how UPF1 modification triggers NMD in yeast cells.
Development of an Ion Selective Electrode-Based Method for Chloride Ion Concentration in Copper Acid Plating Solution by Angeline Monitello
The concentration of hydrochloric acid used in the copper plating process needs to be continually monitored for optimal ionic strength. This testing process is time-consuming and hazardous with currently available methods. Ion Selective Electrodes (ISE) provide an accurate, rapid and cost-effective method for analysis of a specific ion in a solution. Angeline worked with Todd Johns at Swagelok to develop a Chloride-ISE method as a way to determine the hydrochloric acid concentration in copper plating solutions.
A Synonymous Mutation in ADAMTS13 Gene Leads to Enhanced Protein Expression by Gabe Gainar
Thrombotic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (TTP) is a rare blood disorder that leads to the formation of harmful blood clots in small blood vessels throughout the body. Proteins coded by ADAMTS13 gene is required to break down von Willebrand factor that associates with platelets to form blood clots. Mutations in ADAMTS13 gene have been identified in patients with a congenital form of TTP. Gabe worked with Dr. Anton Komar’s team at Cleveland State University to study the impact of a synonymous mutation on ADAMTS13 gene product.

Mutations in Gene Coding for Hair Cell Bundle Protein Causes Hearing Loss by Yifan (Michelle) Wang
Hearing impairment affects about 1 in 1,000 children at birth. A key step in the hearing process involves transduction of mechanical stimuli into an electrical signal by hair cells, the sensory receptors of the inner ear. Mutations in the gene encoding for hair cell bundle protein (HBP) of hair cells have been linked to the hereditary form of hearing loss. Yifan worked with Dr. Suhasini Gopal at Case Western Reserve University, to investigate the role of HBP in a gene knock out mouse model and its localization in the zebrafish larvae.
Designing aClosed Loop Control System with a PID Controller by Ziming (Aaron) Zhao
A closed loop control system with a PID controller is a set of mechanical or electronic devices that regulate other devices or systems by way of control loops. The advantage of this kind of control system is that it automatically adjusts to reduce errors and keep actual output from a process as close to the setpoint output as possible. These systems are widely used in industrial control applications. Ziming worked with Dr. Richter and his team at Cleveland State University to create a closed loop control system with a PID controller to control motor velocity.
3D cell cultures in drug testing by Danny Laurita
Today, 3D cell cultures are emerging, not only as a new tool in early drug discovery but also as potential therapeutics to treat diseases. However, the current methods of constructing 3D cell cultures are very complex and contain time consuming and expensive steps. Danny worked with Dr. Moo Yeal Lee’s team at Cleveland State University to optimize a method of growing 3D organoids for high throughput drug screening.

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