Madison, Ibraheem, and Blake successfully presented their undergraduate research projects at MSU's Undergraduate Research Symposium and at the MS-INBRE Symposium! Blake and Madison will be returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate research. Ibraheem heads back to Arkansas to continue his studies there. We really enjoyed having them in the lab this summer, and look forward to seeing their publications and future work!
Blake Katz, a junior chemistry major in MSU’s ACS-certified chemistry program, has received a summer fellowship as part of the Mississippi INBRE 2021 Research Scholars program. MS-INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) is a National Institutes of Health-funded organization that supports various statewide research initiatives, including undergraduate summer research.
Emily Chappell, one of the undergraduates in the Fitzkee Lab, has received a third place award at the MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Her poster, titled "Interactions of R2ab and Amidase with Polystyrene Nanoparticles" was award third place in the Physical Sciences and Engineering division. This poster represents work Emily performed during her NSF-funded research experience in the summer of 2020. Emily is one of only a handful of students who were able to perform research in our department during the "Summer of COVID."
Something to think about for your Sunday - how much do we trust data presented to us in graphical form? I've been looking at the CNN county numbers for COVID-19 cases for several months. It's very helpful, since MSDH doesn't track new daily cases as part of its website (just total cases per county each day). The CNN page also includes the "7-day average," which is helpful, since test results come in at an inconsistent rate.
Today we welcomed Dr. Paul Boxrud from Jasco, who installed our new J-1500 CD spectrophotometer. This instrument purchase was supported by both he NSF and NIH as well as the Department of Chemistry. The CD includes a Peltier temperature control and a titrator, and it should support our nanoparticle-protein interaction work. Several of our students are eager to start collecting data on this state-of-the-art instrument!
Photo Credit: Emily Chappell
Our 500 MHz NMR received a substantial upgrade this week with the installation of a Sample Case and some other new hardware. The Sample Case will allow automated queuing of up to 24 samples and is the most noticeable upgrade. However, several additional upgrades were done "under the hood." These include an additional X-channel amplifier (for triple resonance experiments) and a three-axis gradient system (for advanced diffusion and imaging measurements).
Yesterday we celebrated Siddik's successful MS defense. Siddik has been a great student, and his thesis focused on generating and characterizing more than 30 variants of GB3 for our nanoparticle studies. We're thrilled with his work and wish him all the best. Congratulations, Siddik!
(Photo Credit: Mahmuda Akter)
It's an exciting week here in the lab, as our two undergraduates, Taylor Agee and Emily Chappell are starting their summer research. Taylor will be working with Ryan on understanding the structure of R2ab on gold nanoparticle surfaces, and Emily is working with Radha and Kayla to understand the mechanism of biofilm formation on S. epidermidis.
Lots of accolades to announce today: First, congratulations to Dr. Randy Perera, who has accepted a funded postdoctoral position in Dr. Walter Chazin's lab at Vanderbilt University! Randy will be helping out with Dr. Chazin's projects in translating benchside research to medical advances. Congratulations, Randy!