ROCK HILL, S.C. - Junior Amy Deng described her attraction to cancer research as “love at first sight.”
She has found her calling through volunteering to work with Takita Sumter, associate professor of chemistry, after class during the academic year and as a full-time undergraduate research assistant this past summer. At the Oct. 1 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience at Sims Science Building, Deng was among 22 students to display a research poster.
The Rock Hill resident studied the High Mobility Group A1 proteins to see how they are involved in converting healthy cells into cancerous cells. The overall goal of Deng’s research is to better understand the progression of cancer at the molecular level.
Deng, who spent part of her childhood in Japan and transferred to Winthrop from York Technical College, hopes to earn her Ph.D. and continue her cancer research at a hospital.
As one of Winthrop’s top chemistry students, Deng shows a good work ethic and is an enthusiastic trouble-shooter, key characteristics for a scientist, said Sumter, her mentor. “She loves the investigative side of things,” Sumter said.
Students involved in summer research studied an assortment of issues, from fungal spores to the visual system of chick embryos to prostate cancer progression.
Senior Adam Balint of Fort Mill, S.C., worked with Scott Werts, assistant professor of geology, on fungal spores to find out what molecules are present at varying high temperatures in these spores from the semi arid plains of Arizona and a temperate forest in Maryland. His goal is to determine both the organic and inorganic makeup of the spores at different temperatures in hopes of determining a chemical response to changes in temperature. From this, he may be able to back calculate an approximate fire temperature to shed light on a possible cause of fires at the ancient Hopi settlements in Arizona.
Balint, who is majoring in environmental sciences, plans to attend graduate school or join the military in a science career path as he pursues the study of biogeochemistry.
Other students, hometown, professor and area of research were:
Elizabeth Bales, Elgin, S.C. (Jason Hurlbert) – “Expression, Purification and Crystallization of Binding Site Mutants of Bacillus Subtilis Xylanase C”
Amanda Benavides, Dalzell, S.C., (Aaron Hartel) – “Studies Toward the Synthesis of Piperidine Alkaloids: Mukaiyama Aldol and Michael Additions of Methyldiphenylsilyl Enol Ethers”
Abby Bradner, Charlotte, N.C., (Robin Lammi) – “Unmasking Preferred Structures and Structural Dynamics in Dimers of Amyloid- β Peptide”
Ashton Brock, Columbia, S.C., (Sumter) – “Transcriptional Activation of the HMGA1 Promoter Through the TCV-4/ β-Catenin Pathway”
Shanequa Bryant, Graniteville, S.C., (Kim Wilson) – “Gene Expressions in a 3-D Cardiac Tissue Culture Model of Ischemia: A Comparison of Microarray and Real-Time PCR Analysis”
Jaron Fincher, York, S.C., (Eric Birgbauer) – “Blocking Different GPCR Pathways Used by LPA and S1P Prevent Growth Cone Collapse in Retinal Explants”
Gregory Gossweiler, Frederick, Md., (Hartel) – “Preparation of γ-Ketooximes From Isoxazoline Derivatives Utilizing the Brook Rearrangement”
Chelsea Johnson, Cherryville, N.C., (Laura Glasscock) – “Thrombomodulin Binding to Extracellular Matrix Proteins”
Kevin Mays, Clover, S.C, (Christian Grattan) – “Total Characterization and Synthetic Optimization of Orally Bioavailable Sphingosine Kinase Inhibitors with an Emphasis on Purity and Reproducibiity”
Rebecca Mitchum, Clover, S.C., (Lammi) – “Investigating Preferred Structures of Amyloid- β Dimers”
Jeffrey Myers, Lexington, S.C., (James Hanna) – “Synthesis of Benzisoxazolo [2,3-A] Pyridinium Tetrafluoroborates”
Ronald Nelson, Cross, S.C., (Sumter) – “In Vitro Characterization of the DNA Binding Properties of a Novel Variant of High Mobility Group A1”
Darius Ollison, Columbia, S.C., (Hanna) – “Synthesis of Pyrazolo [3,4-B] Pryidines By Cyclization of Pyridine N-Oxide Tosylhydrazones”
Joshua Owens, Fort Mill, S.C., (Birgbauer) – “Eveloping SiRNA to Target LPA”
Samuel B. Robinson Jr., Cheraw, S.C., (Birgbauer) – “Optimization of an Ex Ovo Chick Embryo Culture System”
John Samies, Orangeburg, S.C, and James Tucker, Greenville, S.C., (Heather Evans-Anderson) – “The Role of P13K/AKT Signaling in the Development of Ciona Intestinalis”
Brittany Stapleton, Rock Hill, S.C., (Wilson) – “Gene Expression Silencing of the LPA Receptor by RNA Interference in DF-1 Chicken Fibroblasts”
Craig Stevens, Rock Hill, S.C., (Lammi, Hanna) – “Synthesis and Evaluation of Potential Amyloid- β Aggregation Inhibitors”
Amber Wallace, Deland, Fla., (Grattan) – “The Synthesis, Purification and Isolation of Novel Sphingosine Kinase Inhibitors”