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UW Engage Science: Molecular Health, Medical Nanoparticles, Counting Chromosomes
June 1, 2020
Town Hall and UW Engage Science present local graduate students discussing their cutting-edge research. Tune in for a look at the forefront of research in our region, and meet the students who are leading the latest wave of scientific discovery.
Laura Carlucci is a grad student in the department of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. She is studying the effects of mechanical forces on molecular binding, as well as the mechanism behind a particularly force-resistant interaction found in nature.
Forces are found throughout the human body from processes such as blood flow, digestion, or urination. Often these forces oppose molecular interactions, but in some cases force causes certain molecules to bind even stronger. Laura Carlucci outlines her research on this force, revealing how molecules with this binding property play crucial roles in nature, including facilitating bacterial urinary tract infections.
Andrea Joseph is a Chemical Engineering graduate student at the University of Washington. She studies the brain’s natural defense systems and how they go awry in disease. These changes are important to consider when designing new treatments that target the brain.
In the United States, 1 in 10 babies are born prematurely, putting them at an increased risk for brain disease. Since brain diseases are often worsened by inflammation, natural anti-inflammatory spices are being investigated as potential therapeutics. Andrea Joseph presents research evaluating turmeric—the humble yellow spice used in Indian curries—exploring properties that allow it to promote the health of neurons. Using engineering interventions to efficiently transport turmeric across biological barriers, Joseph demonstrates techniques for reducing inflammation and promoting recovery in the injured baby brain
Molly Zych studies cell division in order to understand how human cells accurately separate DNA into two new daughter cells. Using microscopy and cell biology tools, she works to understand why errors occur in this process and how they contribute to both developmental disorders and cancer advancement.
Proper cell division, the process of one cell splitting into two identical cells, is essential for human development. A critical step in this process is making sure both new cells have the correct amount of DNA chromosomes—cells with too many or too few chromosomes may have errors which can contribute to cancer. Molly Zych uses microscopy to visualize human chromosomes that end up in the wrong cell. Through her work she aims to unravel how and why specific chromosomes make mistakes during cell division.
Presented by Town Hall Seattle and the University of Washington.
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