Some of our fellow RC Maroons were recently published in The Protein Journal. Dr. Johann and 3 students, Casey Cooper (Wojtera while at RC), Matt Bryant, and Naomi Hogan, published their paper “Investigations of Amino Acids in the 5-Formyltetrahydrofolate Binding Site of 5,10-Methenyltetrahydrofolate Synthetase from Mycoplasma pneumonia”. RC Research had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Johann and Naomi Hogan about this accomplishment and their research.

Enzymes are biological catalysts; they speed up chemical reactions.  Our work focused on structure/function relationships in 5,10-methenyltetrahydrofolate synthetase (MTHFS).  This enzyme is important in that it converts a storage form of tetrahydrofolate into a useful form.  Tetrahydrofolates are typically made in the human body starting with the vitamin folic acid.  In some cancer treatments, this process is blocked to semi-selectively kill cancer cells.  Normal cells are then rescued using the storage form of folate that the enzyme MTHFS helps change into a useful form.

Enzymes are made up of smaller units called amino acids.  We removed specific amino acids in the enzyme MTHFS and replaced them with other amino acids.  We then studied if the enzyme worked as well as it does with the natural amino acid.  This helped us to determine the role that those amino acids play in the function of the enzyme. 

—Dr. Johann, Chemistry

“Doing research over the summer gave me the opportunity to see more realistically how a lab functions.  It gave me the chance to determine whether research is the right choice for me when pursuing a career. There is a lot more effort that goes into the process than publications show, as well as a lot of failures before a success. Being published is a very marketable achievement. It will help me secure a career with an employer that values research and all of the trial-and-error that goes into it. I greatly appreciate Dr. Johann giving me this golden opportunity to enhance my future career.”

—Naomi Hogan

Here is the link to their research if you would like to check it out. Congratulations to our fellow maroons!!!

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10930-019-09861-4?fbclid=IwAR3vyKaEKXcC82r-RRB-tIYY9RMxGxMIae9JG-CRWV4Iayfo7wTGKyaZXVw

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Research Highlight: Erin McDonnell

September 27, 2019

Recent graduate Erin McDonnell had the opportunity to present at SDB conference with Dr. Lassiter. I had the opportunity to interview her and get her take on her conference experience. Can you describe what your research project is about? At its core, my research project centered around ideas of Behavioral Neuroscience and Toxicology. My experiment […]

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Summer Scholar Research Highlights

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Stephanie Zemba ’21 Major: Sociology Title:Social Isolation Among Aging Immigrants Abstract: Health consequences of social isolation are well-documented. Older immigrants are particularly vulnerable to social isolation due to the stresses associated with aging in a foreign country. The projected increase in foreign-born elders makes social isolation an important phenomenon to study. The proposed research will […]

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Summer Scholar Research Highlights

September 10, 2019

Dylan Sullivan ’20 Major: Chemistry Title: Development of a Low-Cost Fluorescence Spectrometer Abstract: The technique of fluorescence spectroscopy utilizes light to determine unknown concentrations of molecules. The actual instrument used, a fluorimeter, costs over $30,000 so most students lack access to learn about and use this technique. In this research, I propose to develop a fully-functional […]

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Summer Scholar Research Highlights

September 6, 2019

Andrew Droubay ‘20 Major: Computer Science & Mathematics Title: Pointer Visualization and Education in C++ Through Gamification Abstract:The syntactic and theoretical use of pointers within computer programming is often a difficult obstacle to intermediate students. Solutions involving visualizations and practice problems have been used before, but a better result may be obtained through gamifying the problem. […]

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RC Showcase of Research & Creativity

September 5, 2019

On April 5th, approximately 40 RC students had the opportunity to present their work at the Roanoke College Showcase of Research and Creativity.  Top awards went to . . . First Place: Katie Hefele –– Cardiac function in the American lobster: How does pericardial sinus pressure relate to pressure inside the heart?  Dr. Dar Jorgensen, Biology […]

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Summer Scholar Research Highlights

September 2, 2019

Jared Boone ’20 Major: Political Science & French Title: Power Structures and Political Tradition: An Explanation for the Disparate Healthcare Outcomes Between the United States and France Abstract: The United States and France have distinctly different healthcare systems and these differences are shown in nearly every measure. It is unique that two western Republics with very similar systems of governance, […]

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Summer Scholar Research Highlights

August 29, 2019

Isabel Hildesheim ‘20 Major: Biology Title: Using Bryophytes for Stronger Quantification of the Effects of Air Pollution in Habitat Abstract: This project will work to develop a method for using mosses to quantitatively assess air pollution. Moss will be fumigated with SO2 in the lab. The morphology, physiology, and cytology of these mosses will be observed, and polar […]

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Western Virginia Regional Science Fair

July 24, 2019

In March, Roanoke College hosted the Western Virginia Regional Science Fair in Bast Gym. Nearly 170 high school and middle school students were able to showcase their talents and intellect at the fair.

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Research Highlight: Riker Lawrence

July 22, 2019

Riker Lawrence (’20) presented recently at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at Virginia Tech. Her poster was about Psychological Capital (PsyCap), well-being, and work attitudes of employees. It was a joint project with her lab mate, Kaitlin. Riker “wanted to share her work with others because it is a topic that is common in the […]

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