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Michael Berriman and Adrianna Arteaga demonstrate a step in the process of their research. Photo by Karen Tapia

Second Summer

Students Tackle Tough Subjects in the Lab Under Medical Institute Grant

August 24, 2010

By Russ L. Hudson

Chandra Srinivasan, left, and Cynthia Bach review the logs of their cell cultures. Photo by Russ L. Hudson

Eight Cal State Fullerton undergraduates and three May graduates spent the summer pursing scientific research into subjects as diverse as Alzheimer’s treatments, the industrial use of plant starch and the causes of mental retardation and longevity.

Their efforts were supported by a $1.2 million Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant awarded in 2008 to Maria C. Linder, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, to engage high school, community college and Cal State Fullerton students in scientific research with an emphasis on biomedical work. Such grants fit in with Cal State Fullerton’s ongoing campuswide emphasis on the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics, one of the university’s seven initiatives for the 2010-11 academic year.

Ramin Farhad

Intense summer research is one aspect of the program. This year’s researchers, their area of study and mentors are:

Senior biochemistry major Michael Berriman of Orange and senior biological science major Adrianna Arteaga of Santa Ana are working with Chris Meyer, professor of chemistry and biochemistry on starch production from plants for industrial and pharmaceutical use.

Cynthia Bach of Anaheim, a senior biological science major, is in the lab of Chandra Srinivasan, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, delving into the possible role of manganese in longevity.

Gabrielle Donnelly of Placentia, a junior biological science major, is working with Mriganka Sur of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, researching the role of protein mutations in muscle contractions.

Two senior biological sciences majors, Danny Ramos of Corona and Ramin Farhad of Irvine are working in Linder’s lab investigating the function, regulation and structure of copper-binding proteins.

Daniel Mendez of Anaheim, a senior biological science major, works with Nilay Patel, assistant professor of biological science, on the cellular signaling mechanisms in mouse embryonic stem cells, as does Jason Schott of Irvine(B.A. biological science ’10), who is working on genetic risk factors in Alzheimer’s.

Steven Schill of Placentia, a senior chemistry and biochemistry major, is working with Paula Hudson, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry on the impact of man-made aerosols — including pollutants — on cloud formation.

Elaine Seraya of Anaheim (B.S. biochemistry ’10), is working with with Chris Hyland, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, to explor compounds associated with certain carbon atoms.

Katrina Taylor of Fullerton (B.S. biological science ‘10), is working with Math Cuajungco, assistant professor of biological science, to identify the function of transient receptor potential proteins in human cells.

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