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Researching Aging and Disease

Posted on Friday, July 27, 2012

Part of the Hobart and William Smith experience is the close-knit relationships formed between professors and students. For Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kristin Slade and Maria Mangine '14, who are conducting research on proteins that have been linked to aging and disease, this is especially true.

"At small liberal arts schools, working with students is the research experience. The whole point of doing research at a place like HWS is to benefit the students," says Slade.

This summer, the two are continuing Slade's post-doctorate work on proteins. "I'm focusing on the nuclei of Tetrahymena cells to isolate the Thd14 protein," says Mangine. "This protein is linked to aging and death of the cell through degradation of the nucleus, so the other proteins attached to Thd14 may also be involved in these processes."

What Slade finds most valuable about this summer's research is the practicality of the study. "This area of study is very interesting because of its downstream implications in aging and disease," she says. "If we can understand the mechanism of this process at the molecular level, we can apply what we learn to our understanding of aging and cancer."

For Mangine, summer research will pay dividends in the classroom. "In my classes, I've learned about how to theoretically perform these experiments, but now I am actually performing them in the lab. I'm also getting a head start for future classes because I'm learning new techniques that I will eventually use in class," she says.

Earlier this summer, Mangine interned as a dental assistant at University Dental Services, a private practice in Syracuse. Recently, she was accepted at the University of Buffalo-School of Dental Medicine, a rare occurence for a junior. On campus, she is an America Counts tutor, a member of Campus Greens and a member of the Health Professions club.

Slade earned her B.S. from the University of Richmond and her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, with the dissertation "Protein Diffusion in Escherichia coli." She also served as a teaching and research postdoctoral fellow in molecular biology at Claremont Colleges in California, and is the recipient of several fellowships and has contributed to nearly a dozen publications.

In the photo above, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Kristin Slade (left) works with Maria Mangine '14 in her lab.

 


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