Caitlin Rice, a Hope College sophomore from Spring Lake, has been chosen for a rare honor, the opportunity to speak about her research during the annual meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, being held in Washington, D.C., on Saturday-Wednesday, April 28-May 2.

"This is quite an honor," said Dr. Virginia McDonough, who is an associate professor of biology at Hope and Rice's research mentor. "Thousands of people attend this meeting and thousands of research posters are presented, but only a handful of folks are chosen to give a talk."

Rice will present "Molecular characterization and genetic regulation of lipid metabolism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mga2 and pdr16 mutants." The research investigates the role of two key genes controlling fat metabolism in the cell. The researchers are working to develop an understanding of how cells broadly control the synthesis of fats, and how that is impacted by the diet.

In addition to Rice and McDonough, the research team working on the project has included biologist Dr. Joseph Stukey; junior Matthew Cooke of Berrien Springs; and senior Peter Vollbrecht of Dexter. Rice and the other students involved in the project had also made a poster presentation concerning the research during the college's sixth annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, held at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse on Monday, Jan. 29.

A biology major, Rice initially conducted research with McDonough during the summer as a high school student and has been working with her throughout her time at Hope, including full time during the summer of 2006. Rice is the daughter of Ken and Laurie Rice of Spring Lake, and a 2005 graduate of Spring Lake High School.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization that seeks to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology through publication of scientific and educational journals, organization of scientific meetings, advocacy for funding of basic research and education, support of scientific education at all levels, and promoting the diversity of individuals entering the scientific work force. Most of the society's more than 11,900 members teach and conduct research at colleges and universities, while others conduct research in various government laboratories, nonprofit research institutions and industry. Founded in 1906, the society is based in Bethesda, Md., on the campus of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.