Biomed society hosts independent study presentations
Published: Monday, May 7, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 12:07
During club hours last Thursday, Baruch’s Bio-Med Society kicked off with a club event titled “Part II Independent Study Research Presentations.” Four undergraduate seniors, Julie Sesina, Michael Dabrowski, Irina Mironova and Eugene Kharonov, put together their semester-long research in areas of the Natural Sciences.
The way independent study works is a student designs a course of study on a topic of interest and submits a proposal to a professor that is willing to research and supervise the project. The study is then conducted between a student and the professor, generally one-on-one, for a single semester. Like a regular course, students receive a grade at the end of the semester based on their performance.
Julie Sesina was up first to present her independent study research with Dr. Jason Munshi-South, on individual RNA-sequence analysis of urban white-footed mice. Sesina carried out her research at four urban sites and one rural site in New York. The rural site was located in Harriman State Park, the second largest state park in the state. Sesina used Blast2go, a universal tool to map out genes and analyze gene ontology based on sequencing data. Her research helps one to understand the various biological processes that occur in mice’s bodies, which contributes to urban ecology, conservation biology and genomics.
Michael Dabrowski presented second to his independent study with Professor Tucker, on inhibition of integrin-like protein in C. Richardii Gametophyte. Dabrowski sought to examine properties of the protein and induce them using plasmolysis, which contracts the protoplast of a plant cell as a result of a loss of water from the cell. The plant he used, C. Richardii, is an annual fern that has emerged as a model for genetic and molecular based studies.
Irina Mironova was third to present her research with Professor Ramig on reflectance analysis and theromochromicity of fabrics dyed with indigo, as components of the ancient dye tyrian purple. Mironova has been researching the properties of indigo molecules and its derivatives, monobromoindigo (MBI) and dibromoindigo (DBI). This has helped her work out a theory that predicts how the color will appear on the fabric based on the structure of the molecule.
“There is no clear theory of how that would look, but we are studying how these molecules behave on the fabric on a molecular level using reflectance data and Bioinformatics,” Mironova said. “The ancients collected MBI and DBI through seashells and snails, but what they did not know then, as we do now is that indigo is a good urinary tract indicator, as it is excreted through their natural metabolism.”
Mironova believes that different color urines are in relation to indigo produced within our physiological systems.
Mironova’s research relates to the dyeing industry and will help to predict how the indigo color appears on the molecule, which she believes will minimize the costs in making the production of the fabric.
Eugene Kharonov was the last one up to present his independent study with Professor Tucker on the way stress-induced microRNA modulation reprograms C. Richardii gametophyte cell cycle in-vivo. He broke his presentation down into five categories including the central dogma of biology, genetic continuity, miRNA, the cell cycle, and bioinformatics. Kharonov’s research centers on the reproductive generation of ferns called gametophytes.
“We basically put the gametophytes in a high concentration of sugar and when you put them in a high concentration of sugar all of the water inside the cells rushes out toward the sugar because things go from low solute concentration to high concentration,” Kharonov said. “After some time, they looked like they were mutated but they weren’t, they were merely stressed out. We decided to then do an RNA extraction. We used to think short RNAs had no functions and called then non-coding, but in fact, they repress target genes.”