Current Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Projects & Awards
Three Pharmaceutical Sciences students presented their senior research projects at DUCURS (Drake University Conference on Undergraduate Research in the Sciences) on April 16th, 2009.
Brady Wolfe gave a talk on the “Effects of Genistein on Maternal and Reproductive Behavior in Long Evans Rats”, a project he conducted under the guidance of Dr. Craige Wrenn. Genestein is the primary isoflavone in soy ; many isoflavones have been shown to interact with estrogen receptors and to cause effects similar to those caused by the hormone estrogen.
Greg Walker presented a poster about his research project, carried out in the lab of Dr. Pramod Mahajan. The goal of the project was to study genotoxic effects of genistein in rats as an animal model using Poly-ADP-ribose polymer
ase (PARP) as a marker of DNA damage.
His poster was entitled “Molecular Analysis of Isoflavonoid Genotoxicity”.
Sarah Moritz, with the guidance of Dr. Geoff Wall, evaluated use of the sedative drug dexmedetomidine in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Blank Children’s Hospital in Des Moines. She conducted a retrospective chart review of mechanically ventilated infants and children in the PICU who received dexmedetomidine, and assessed the drug’s safety and efficacy in the pediatric population.
Goldwater Scholarship 2009
Siva Kasinathan, a junior pursuing dual degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and Biochemistry/ Cell & Molecular Biology (BCMB), has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar for 2009-10. He was one of 278 students chosen by the Goldwater Foundation from 1,097 outstanding math, science and engineering students nationwide.
Siva is currently conducting Pharmacology research in Dr. Ron Torry’s lab, studying the potential anti-apoptotic role of placenta growth factor (PlGF), a signaling protein expressed in numerous tissues. Siva’s project is to knockdown endogenous PlGF expression in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes via RNAi. BSPS and BSHS (Pharmaceutical Sciences) students take foundational courses in basic and applied sciences, and complete a research project in their senior year as part of their capstone experience. Like Siva, many begin doing research as early as their sophomore or junior year.
In Siva’s words, “I always perceived science as a set of facts organized into a body of knowledge that had to be learned, but I never understood how the facts were gleaned. It was not until I was told to design an experiment to study the effect of a receptor agonist to show the nuclear localization of the receptors that I appreciated the logic of investigation. It was one of those “eureka!” moments where hours of learning biology, chemistry, and even physics, coalesced into clarity. I was irrevocably hooked.”
After graduating from Drake, Siva plans to continue his education in the biomedical sciences and pursue a Ph.D or an M.D./Ph.D.