Centre students present award-winning research at Kentucky Academy of Science annual meeting

Posted by Centre News in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, News, Psychology, Research 12 Dec 2017

competitionIn early November, three Centre College students participated in the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) research competition at Murray State University.

During the KAS 2017 Annual Meeting, Alexandria Szalanczy ’18, Laura Hopkins ’19 and Nicole Stumpp ’18 each won second place for their undergraduate oral presentations.

In her second year of presenting for KAS, Szalanczy presented a research project titled “Identifying autophagy-inducted phosphorylation sites on the Hsp70 molecular chaperone.”

As a biochemistry and molecular biology major, she spent this past summer working at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte as part of a NSF-REU program.

“The lab I worked with focuses on the heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70),” Szalanczy said. “We are looking to potentially connect two autophagy (when a cell degrades its internal components in order to survive) pathways.

“These points of connection are potential sites on the Hsp70 molecular chaperone that may be phosphorylated the kinase ULK1,” she continued. “Using kinase assays, I examined each site individually, and found one site that may be a connection point. Future studies will verify that this is a phosphorylation site and mutate the site to examine the effect in the cell.”

Psychology majors Hopkins and Stumpp presented their research project together, titled “Breaking the Prejudice Habit: A Longitudinal Assessment of an Intervention to Reduce Implicit Racial Bias.”

During the presentation, they walked the audience through the multiple definitions of bias and how implicit bias can take effect in daily lives.

“We then presented the five strategies that we teach to our participants, which have been shown to reduce implicit bias in the laboratory setting,” Stumpp said. “Next, we gave a brief snippet of our intervention we piloted last spring and showed our results. Lastly, we explained what our current research at Centre looks like and how it is different from the pilot study we previously ran.”

KAS is a non-profit organization, founded in 1914, whose mission is to foster scientific discovery and understanding in Kentucky.

by Kerry Steinhofer
December 12, 2017