Student Applications for Summer Research
If you are interested in doing summer research at OBU in summer 2013, you must complete an application:
- Faculty research interests can be seen by clicking on the faculty name below. Please read through them to see which projects you are interested in.
- Contact the faculty with whom you would like to work to arrange brief interviews to announce your interest, get information about projects in their labs, and let the faculty members get acquainted with you.
- Submit an application to the Natural Sciences office by 5:00 p.m., Friday, March 1. The contents of the application should include:
- Your name, major and minor
- Any courses relevant to the projects you are interested in
- Prior research/lab experience, if any
- The names of up to three mentors (rank order) with whom you would like to work and why you would like to work with each one
- Other research opportunities for which you are applying, including application dates and notification dates
We will make every effort to announce the matches by Friday, March 8 .
If you are accepted:
- Confirm your plans to work at OBU this summer with your mentor.
- Discuss with your mentor the requirements for your funding- e.g., start date and end date, contract, etc.
Professors with INBRE-Funded Research (Summer 2013)
Dr. Lori Hensley – Biology
Cannabinoids as Novel Therapeutics for Pediatric Cancers
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a pediatric bone cancer that is highly aggressive, leading to a five-year survival rate of only 30% even with multi-modal treatment protocols. Improved therapeutic options are desperately needed. Our research has focused on the ability of non-psychoactive cannabinoids to induce death and inhibit metastases in cells from members of the Ewing’s sarcoma family of tumors and other solid pediatric cancers. Our data demonstrate these compounds can successfully kill Ewing’s sarcoma cells and related tumor cells in vitro through the induction of apoptosis. Our data further suggest we can limit the migration of tumor cells and endothelial cells (required for new blood vessel formation to feed the tumors), potentially reducing their ability to spread throughout the body. In order to test the efficacy of our drugs in a more realistic model of human cancer, we developed a novel bioluminescent mouse model of Ewing’s sarcoma in which engineered tumor cells are injected into the tibiae of mice, and the growth of tumors in control and treated mice can be tracked using specific imaging techniques. For summer research, we will be further investigating the effects of our compounds on metastatic potential and angiogenesis, and a larger mouse study is currently being planned. Also central to our summer research will be experiments to identify the receptor and subsequent cellular signaling pathways these cannabinoids are using to exert their effects. Students involved with this project will learn and use techniques such as tissue culture, cell viability assays, western blots, PCR, migration and invasion assays, and immunohistochemistry.
Dr. Marty Perry – Chemistry
Engineering cytochrome P450s for enantioselective oxidative reactions
The overall aim of this study is to determine the molecular basis for enantioselective oxidations by CYP2C9 as a step toward engineering biocatalysts for environmentally friendly or “green” applications. CYP2C9 is a member of a large class of oxidative enzymes called cytochrome P450s (CYP for specific isoforms). The attractive properties of these enzymes has led to their use in the synthesis of bulk and specialty chemicals in industry and medicine, development of biosensors, and bioremediation of environmental pollutants. Despite these advances, the inherent high regio- and enantio-selectivity of P450 reactions have not been tapped for meeting the rising demand for chiral chemicals. It is hypothesized that the location ofspecific CYP2C9 residues in the active site are “hotspot” contacts in enantioselective binding and catalytic processes for the enzyme. CYP2C9 is one of the most enantioselective P450 enzymes, and thus the active site residues are likely optimized for chiral interactions. In following, those residues are sensitive to mutations of functional residues and make CYP2C9 an excellent target for identifying and validating enantioselective “hotspot” residues. In this study, a novel strategy is employed to identify contact residues that distinguish between enantiomeric substrates through computational studies and then assess their importance by mutating those residues and determining theeffects on binding and catalysis. Preliminary studies have already corroborated previous reports of critical residues and identified new leads for study. The completion of the project will ultimately provide a critical foundation for engineering improved or novel P450 biocatalysts that are capable of addressing demand for chiral chemicals using “green” chemistry. We will accomplish these efforts through a multi-institutional collaborative project involving computational (in silico) and biochemical (in vitro) approaches. Specifically, we will test our hypothesis through the following specific aims:
►Aim 1: Identify enantioselective “hotspot” residues involved in CYP2C9 complexes through computational docking studies.
►Aim 2: Validate enantioselective “hotspot” residues involved in CYP2C9 binding of molecules using mutant enzymes.
►Aim 3: Validate enantioselective “hotspot” residues involved in CYP2C9 catalytic reactions using mutant enzymes
Professors with Patterson-Funded Research (Summer 2013)