• academic - science 10
Undergraduate Biochemistry Research Opportunities
  • As a Capital University biochemistry major, you will have plenty of opportunities to do science beyond the boundaries of the classes you're talking. And you can do it both on- and off-campus.

    In the past several years, Capital University biochemistry students have conducted research at respected institutions across the country, including:

    • The Cleveland Clinic
    • Eli Lilly (studying veterinary pharmaceuticals)
    • University of Connecticut (studying DNA lesions caused by urea)
    • University of Cincinnati
    • Cornell University

    Current Research

    These are the topics that are currently being explored by Capital University biochemists with the help of their students.

    Enzymology is the study of enzymes, which are the “machines” that make life possible. With the help of enzyme mechanisms, chemical reactions that can take years to happen on a tabletop can be completed in seconds. Enzymology has many applications, including the design of pharmaceutical drugs.

    Dr. Tracey Murray, an assistant professor of chemistry at Capital, is conducting research on enzymes with the help of Capital undergraduates. Her specific topic: the action of a bacterial enzyme called flavodoxin that serves as a small and simple model for more complicated flavoproteins.

    Flavoproteins are involved in many biological processes, including:

    • Metabolism
    • Photosynthesis
    • Bioluminescence
    • DNA repair
    • Programmed cell death (apoptosis)

    The biochemistry students who work with Dr. Murray are getting firsthand knowledge of:

    • Mutagenesis
    • Protein expression and purification
    • Spectroscopy
    • Fluorimetry

    Systems Biology
    Systems biology is an exciting new field of study that aims to understand the broad functions of an organism, such as metabolism or signaling, on a molecular level. This technology will soon be used in a wide variety of medical applications including:

    • The diagnosis of specific cancer subtypes to pinpoint the most effective therapies
    • The identification of adverse drug interactions based on a patient's genetic profile
    • The use of a single lab test to screen for hundreds of infectious diseases

    Dr. Jens Hemmingsen is an associate professor of chemistry at Capital whose current research focuses on understanding gene expression patterns in bacteria, archaea and yeast. He uses DNA microarrays and two-dimensional gel electrophores to measure changes in the levels of RNA or protein under different growth conditions. By analyzing thousands of genes in a single experiment, Dr. Hemmingsen and his students are discovering patterns that describe global effects on the organism.

    The students working with Dr. Hemmingsen gain experience in:

    • Modern biochemical lab techniques
    • Molecular genetics
    • Computational biology