Local Pre-Med Majors To Present Research At National Conference

Three Misericordia University students in the campus chapter of the America Medical Student Association have been accepted to copresent their research at the American Medical Student Association’s 2014 Annual Convention and Exposition in New Orleans, La., in March.

Misericordia University students Donna Castelblanco, Edison, N. J.; Rachel Bohn, Mountain Top, and Sara Sabatino, Nuangola, collaborated with Frank DiPino, Ph. D., professor of biology at Misericordia University, and Jun Ling, Ph. D., assistant professor of biochemistry at The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, Pa. Together, they are conducting research at both campuses on p21 Activated Kinase 2 (PAK 2), which has been shown to be an important regulator in cancer cells.

The researchers are using molecular biology methodologies to prepare, characterize, and alter PAK 2 genes to explore its potential to be used as a therapeutic target in the development of anti-tumor agents. In the second phase of their experiment, researchers will use in vitro mutagenesis to introduce specific mutations in the gene that encodes the PAK 2 protein. Mutated versions of the gene may then be used in mammalian cells to study the impact on normal cells and cancer cells.

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