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HWS Success at ACS Symposium

Posted on Friday, May 09, 2014

The Pelkey Research Group, led by Professor of Chemistry Erin T. Pelkey, recently attended the 2014 Undergraduate Research Symposium, hosted by the Western New York section of the American Chemical Society at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, where Carly Rolph '15 earned second runner-up for Oral Presentation.

Pelkey, Maeve Holton '15 and Nathanyal Truax '17 were among the audience of the symposium's poster session and oral presentations, during which Rolph delivered her talk, "Synthesis and Biological Evaluation of Simplified Analogs of Staurosporine," which described her research from last summer with Pelkey and the continuation of that research this semester with Assistant Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery.

Rolph has been working with Pelkey to develop methods of synthesizing analogs of Staurosporine, a protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor that has potential as an anti-cancer compound.

"PKC inhibitors are big therapeutic targets due to the role of PKC in several diseases, so researching this topic is very exciting," says Rolph. "This semester, I have been researching PKC inhibitors and preparing for this summer when I will work with Professor Mowery to test the compounds in various ways for their activity as PKC inhibitors."

"Presenting at conferences in general is a great opportunity for students to take stock of what they've done," says Pelkey. "That's what happened here for Carly, who has pushed to another level. Last summer, she made compounds in the lab as a chemist. Often times the work ends there, but Carly really pushed the expansion of the program into biology. It was her drive that helped make it happen, and now she's doing the work in biology, testing the compounds."

"This project has helped me pinpoint my research interests, focusing on the combination of organic chemistry and cell biology," says Rolph, a double-major in chemistry and environmental studies. "In the future, I can definitely see myself working in a similar setting where I could combine my knowledge of chemistry and biology, possibly working for a pharmaceutical company or in some type of research lab."

Catherine Downey '13, who is currently enrolled in law school at the University at Buffalo, SUNY, also attended the symposium.

 


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