Chemistry major Chloe Grove ’20 (Bucyrus, Ohio) is interning this summer with Dr. Steven Van Lanen’s lab in the natural products division at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.
“I’m working to characterize the enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of the novel antibiotic sphaerimicin,” Grove said. “Specifically, I have been optimizing cloning methods for the genes that code for these enzymes, including E. coli for increased protein production and purifying the desired products. Additionally, I have been assisting in the organic synthesis of an disaccharide intermediate that is needed as a substrate for the enzymes in kinetic experiments.”
Grove said she has always been fascinated by antibiotics, as they are a fundamental component of modern medicine. On the other hand, antibiotic resistance is a growing problem as it is the cause of over 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
“Less novel antibiotics are being approved for clinical use than ever before,” she added. “Knowing this has inspired me to want to contribute in the fight against antibiotic resistance. One of the ways to do this is through the study of novel antibiotics, which is the focus of Dr. Van Lanen’s lab.”
The biochemistry and genetics courses Grove has taken have helped her understand the underlying principles of her research. In addition, her organic chemistry class helped her to understand the scientific literature related to her research and prepare her to give a presentation to other scientists when she presented her preliminary findings to the professors and graduate students at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy.
“I am incredibly grateful to have the experience of working in Dr. Van Lanen’s lab, because it has allowed me to work on a project I feel passionately about,” she concluded. “I appreciate the independence I have been given, as it has led me to becoming a better researcher.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
August 10, 2018