Science Students Present Research at Major Conference – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Science Students Present Research at Major Conference

HWS students presented research at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology conference in Philadelphia.

Under the guidance of Professor of Biology Patricia Mowery and Associate Professor of Chemistry Kristin Slade, nine students presented their research at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) in Philadelphia in April. Topics of research cover everything from COVID-19 and cancer-causing agents to the mathematics of sensory neurons.

Among the more than 15,000 national conference participants, the HWS students joined approximately 300 undergraduates for a poster session reviewed by 150 judges. The students presented research projects they have co-authored and conducted in the labs of various HWS professors. In addition, the students presented their work during a general poster session among graduate students, researchers and professors.

Andrea Desrochers ’22 and Blake Evans ’22 were awarded ASBMB travel grants to attend the event. Desrochers, a biology major, has been accepted to Cornell Veterinary School, and presented “Effect of pH Dependent Substrate Inhibition on Glutamate Dehydrogenase Kinetics,” work she completed with Slade. Evans, a chemistry major, who intends to apply to medical school, presented “Using molecular modeling to identify potential anti-tubulin compounds,” research completed with Professor of Chemistry Erin Pelkey and a collaborator at Christopher Newport University.

Chemistry majors Ashton Ariola ’22 and Emily Rundlett ’22 completed research studying how a crowded cellular environment alters enzyme function under the direction of Slade. Rundlett, a math minor, has been accepted to the University of Connecticut Dental School. Ariola, who minors in environmental studies, plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Maegan Manning ’22 and Matt McNulty ’22 presented research based in Mowery’s lab. Manning, a biology major and chemistry and religious studies double minor, has been accepted into a postgraduate research program at the National Institutes of Health. McNulty, a biology major and chemistry minor who plans to attend medical school, presented research titled “Evaluating the Anticancer Activity of Isomeric Analogues of the 3,4-Diarylfuranone, PY-407-C.”

Colleen Boucher ’22 presented her Honors work titled “Beyond Place Cells: Using Algebraic Geometry to Determine Underlying Structure of Receptive Fields Associated with Sensory Neurons,” research that she is completing under the direction of Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science Joe Rusinko. Boucher, a biochemistry and mathematics double major, will attend Penn State’s Neuroscience Graduate Degree Program.

Grace Faulkner ’22, a biology major who will attend University of Buffalo Medical School, presented research titled “Synthesis of Novel Tubulin Inhibitor Candidates as Potential Anti-Cancer Agents” that she completed with Pelkey. Jenna Hyman ’23, a chemistry major, completed research titled “Effect of Viscosity on Fouling: Investigation into Pre-Treatment of Saliva Samples for a Point-of-care SARS-CoV-2 Device” with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Elana Stennett. Josh Marek ’22, a biochemistry and physics double major who plans on attending medical school, also attended the conference. 

A large number of biology, biochemistry and chemistry majors conduct research as independent study, during summer Research or for Honors. Most of these experiences result in student co-authored publication.