2010 SURP Student Research

Ashley Deyoung, (Biology, ’11) and Francesca Longbardo, (Biology, ’12)
~Drs. Lorance and Sirvent, mentors
“I really enjoyed SURP; it is an intensive research program which gives you the opportunity to learn new lab techniques as well as perfect basic lab techniques. The professors are there to help you and to also guide you into the “research world!” ~Francesca Longbardo  

Affect of metal accumulation in the medicinal plant Hypericum perforatum
Ashley Deyoung became familiar with the concept and practical execution of ASV; however, a successful calibration curve for the first metal to be used. She also worked in partnership with Francesca Longbardo in establishing H. perforatum meristem tissue culture. They learned aseptic techniques and established tissue culture for St. John’s wort. All the plant material had to be re-established after the cultures died due to instrument failure last year. Ashley and Francesca then planned a series of experiment that harvested the plant material after 14 days. The tissue was extracted with acetone and analyzed via HPLC to determine the levels of hypericins and hyperforin present. The goal of this experiment was to determine the cultivars of H. perforatum that produces the highest levels of hypericins. Ashley and Francesca identified two high producers that will be used for subsequent testing with various concentrations of metals. 

Kenneth Bogenberger (History, ‘10)
~Dr. Sirvent, mentor  

Elucidation of PKS genes from Hypericum perforatum  
Kenneth Bogenberger was trained in several modern Molecular biological techniques including; DNA isolation, electrophoresis, PCR, and sequencing. Bogenberger identified 1 putative fragment from H. perforatum involved in the synthesis of hypericin. Several fragments have been sequenced to date using the Beckman Coulter’s CEQ 8000 DNA sequencer.  

Curtis Converse (Biochemistry, ‘11)
~Dr. Sirvent, mentor  

Genetic analysis of Melaleuca alternifolia
Curtis Converse learned aseptic techniques and established a tissue culture procedure for Tea Tree. Curtis tested several bacterial strains to determine susceptibility to Tea Tree Oil (TTO) and terpinen-4-ol  

Meagan Long (Biochemistry, ‘11)
~Dr. Rosengarth, mentor  

Characterization of Annexin and Copine protein Families 
Meagan Long learned various cloning and protein analyses protocols including SDS-PAGE gel electrophoresis. The faint band resulting in the SDS-PAGE is not positively the desired SXR and RXRα proteins. The band is too faint to indicate that it was induced for 4 hours with IPTG. The band, also, does not appear to be at the size expected for the proteins to be at. To be more certain, a western blot should be performed in the future.
Future study of the proteins SXR and RXRα bound to the ligand, producing a heterodimer needs to be done and analyzed by protein X-ray crystallography.  

 Charles Lewis (Biochemistry, ‘12)
~Drs. Rosengarth and Sirvent, mentors  

“I had a lot of fun participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program. My literature searching skills and general lab techniques have really improved, especially my knowledge of lab safety protocols. I only wish we could have continued the program for more of the summer.” ~Charles Lewis  

Investigation of Hypericum perforatum proteins
Charles Lewis learned how to manipulate DNA and proteins from live materials. Extraction of proteins from H. perforatum, required the development of a new protocol. Using literature, a new protocol for a protein prep was created. Through another approach, progress was made on characterizing the DNA encoding the Hyp-1 protein. Based on data collected by Zech Franks (Biology, ’09) it was determined that the cloning vector pGEM-T EZ insert plasmid in the E. coli cells contained at least the latter half of the Hyp-1 sequence. It was also determined that the portion successfully sequenced by PCR contains at least one intron. Therefore it is recommended that the RNA for Hyp-1 be obtained as soon as it is feasible and reverse transcribed in order to express and analyze the protein further.  

 Amanda Young, (’11 Chemistry)
~Dr. Lorance, mentor  

Zinc Didebromination of styrene dibromides 
Amanda Young successfully synthesized two styrene dibromide derivatives (4-chlorostyrene dibromide and 4-methylstyrene dibromide) and attempted a third synthesis with unusual results (according to NMR, ESI-MS, and HR-MS spectra of the purported 4-nitrostyrene dibromide; spectra courtesy of the NMR and MS facilities of UCI); the possibility that the original reference for this transformation is in error is being investigated.  

Dustin Smithson, (’11 Biology)
~Dr. Lorance, mentor  

Cis-Trans Isomerization of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters
Dustin Smithson synthesized methyl eliadate, but could not purify it due to the insignificant differences in the physical properties of methyl oleate and methyl eliadate. Therefore, Dustin instead synthesized and separated eliadic acid, and then methylated it. Dustin optimized a method using reverse-phase HPLC.  

2007 SURP Student Research

2007 SURP - Back row from left to right: Kyle Stansfier ('08 Biology), Dr. Dovel, Mark Burton, Mike Edwards ('08 Biology), Jessica ('08 Biology). Second row l to r: Danielle Hogg ('09 Biochemistry), Jayme Badoud ('10 Biology), Leah Casimiro ('08 Biology), Dr. Sirvent.