From right to left are: Guillermo Flores, Nicole Ladd, Drew Krumm, Clara Schriemer, Jacob Johnson and Elizabeth Unterbrink.

Six Hope College students, along with four faculty members, recently presented the results of their research at the Experimental Biology 2014 Meeting, which was held on Saturday-Wednesday, April 26-30, in San Diego, California.

Two of the students were among only 11 undergraduates, out of the more than 260 presenting posters at the meeting, who were also selected to give talks by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB).

The Experimental Biology meeting is an annual meeting of the American Association of Anatomists, The American Physiological Society, ASBMB, American Society for Investigative Pathology, American Society for Nutrition, and American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and is concerned with a wide variety of biomedical topics.  The annual meeting is attended by more than 14,000 scientists and exhibitors, and includes lectures by eminent scientists, symposia, poster sessions, career development sessions, and exhibits from manufacturers of biomedical equipment.

The six participating students, who presented posters regarding their research, were:  Guillermo Flores, a member of the 2014 graduating class and biochemistry and molecular biology major from Holland; Jacob Johnson, a member of the 2014 graduating class and biology major from Hartland; Drew Krumm, a member of the 2014 graduating class and biochemistry and molecular biology major from Brighton; Nicole Ladd, a junior chemistry major from Ortonville; Clara Schriemer, a junior biology major from Vicksburg; and Elizabeth Unterbrink, a member of the 2014 graduating class and biology major from Gig Harbor, Washington.

In addition to the posters, Schriemer and Ladd each presented invited talks on their research at the meeting.  Schriemer’s talk was given at a symposium on “Emerging Topics in Flippases and Membrane Asymmetry,” and Ladd’s talk was given at a symposium on “Movin' in the Membrane: Membrane Protein Dynamics.”

The four participating faculty members were:  Dr. Christopher Barney, who is the T. Elliot Weier Professor of Biology; Dr. Leah Chase, associate professor of biology and chemistry and director of the neuroscience minor program; Dr. Virginia McDonough, associate professor and chair of biology; and Dr. Michael Pikaart, associate professor of chemistry.

Flores and Johnson presented a poster titled “Postnatal injection of homocysteic acid leads to the development of behaviors consistent with major-depressive disorder in female, but not male, Sprague Dawley rats.”  The research was carried out under the supervision of Chase and Barney.

Johnson also presented a poster on his research with Barney titled “Effects of intermittent heat acclimation on thirst and hypothalamic angiotensin II receptor levels in rats.”

Krumm presented a poster titled “Investigating the cytotoxic effects of mycobacteriophage Vix gene 80,” which was co-authored by Hope junior Andrew Neevel of Canton, and 2013 Hope graduates Danielle Goodman and Megan Ludwig.   This research project was supervised by McDonough and Dr. Joseph Stukey, assistant professor of biology.  

Schriemer presented a poster titled “Differential regulatory response for the Δ9 desaturase in Saccharomyces cerevisiae based on fatty acid species and intracellular amount” reporting on research carried out under the supervision of McDonough and co-authored by senior Matthew Ochs of Clinton Township; senior Lauren Hillers of Crystal Lake, Illinois; and 2013 graduate Marshall Willey.

Ladd and Unterbrink presented a poster on “Identification of trafficking motifs in the C-terminus of the cystine/gluatamate exchanger, System xc-.”  The research was supervised by Chase and was co-authored by 2012 graduate Anne Georges and 2013 graduate Sara Lang.

In addition to the posters presented by students, Pikaart presented a poster on “A genomic approach to microbial source tracking of fecal indicator bacteria in recreational surface waters,” which was co-authored by Cameron Pratt, a junior from Zeeland; Stephen Skilling, a member of the 2014 graduating class from Ada; and by Dr. Aaron Best, who is the Harrison C. and Mary L. Visscher Associate Professor of Genetics.

The research projects of the students were supported by grants from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program, a Richard Decker Biology Summer Research Award and by Hope College funds.

As part of their selection as symposia speakers, Schriemer and Ladd each received a $900 ASBMB NSF Student Research Travel Award.  In addition, Flores received a $400 ASBMB Undergraduate Student Competitive Travel Award to support his attendance at the meeting.