Catalyst Symposium Showcases Semester of Research Work


Congratulations to the Fall 2023 Catalyst participants, who presented recaps of their semester-long research work at the Catalyst Symposium. Throughout the fall semester, Lily Prebul '24, Sam Luan '24, Luke Peterson '25, Vincent D’Angelo '25, Julia Morgan '24 and Ian Miller '25 (pictured L to R) worked alongside researchers in CWRU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences, Department of Physics and Department of Pharmacology, and CSU’s Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. Below are recaps of each of their projects:

Understanding the Repercussions of Lithium-Ion Battery Thermal Runaway Events
Lily Prebul '24
Lithium-ion batteries, while globally used as a power source, face scrutiny for thermal runaway events. Lily worked in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at CWRU, to identify and quantify the results of these events. The ultimate goal is to establish safety standards for the use and transportation of lithium-ion batteries.

Studying the interaction between MmpL Promoter and rv0302 Protein of Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Sam Luan '24
Tuberculosis remains a persistent threat despite the availability of antituberculosis drugs. Sam worked in the Department of Pharmacology at CWRU to purify a protein (rv0302) from tuberculosis bacteria and investigate its interaction with the MmpL promoter. The goal is to understand how the bacterium causes tuberculosis, contributing to the search for improved ways to combat this disease.

Optimizing MOKE Microscope set up to Study Magnetized Graphene
Luke Peterson '25
The MOKE microscope allows the investigation of magnetic properties and changes in magnetization in materials. Luke worked in the Department of Physics at CWRU to build a diffuser spinner and to optimize the MOKE setup for improved imaging capabilities. The objective is to investigate the properties of magnetized graphene, given its significant potential in electronics, sensors and energy storage. 

Effect of human Upf1 Mutations on Nonsense-mediated mRNA Decay in a yeast model
Vincent D’Angelo '25
Vincent D'Angelo conducted research in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU, exploring the effects of Upf1 mutations in individuals with intellectual disability on NMD (nonsense-mediated decay), a cellular surveillance mechanism. This research holds significance in unraveling the molecular basis of intellectual disabilities.
 
Using a Super-Exon Strategy to Restore CFTR Function in Intestinal Organoids and Murine Models of Cystic Fibrosis
Julia Morgan '24
Cystic Fibrosis poses a complex challenge with over 2,000 unique mutations in the CFTR Gene. Julia worked in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at CWRU to explore a novel gene editing approach applicable to multiple CFTR gene mutations. This research holds significant potential for offering a cure for cystic fibrosis.
 
Sodium Nitroprusside Loaded Nanoparticles for the Treatment of Chronic Hypertension
Ian Miller '25
Sodium nitroprusside, an effective medication for non-chronic hypertension, faces challenges due to rapid breakdown in the body, requiring high doses and raising toxicity concerns. Ian worked in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Cleveland State University to incorporate this drug into nanoparticles for sustained drug release, offering a revolutionary approach to managing chronic hypertension.
 
The mentors, faculty members, parents and students in attendance were impressed with the scope of their work and the professionalism with which they presented it.
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