Biological sciences symposium features college and high school students

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CLEMSON – The latest iteration of the Clemson Biological Sciences Annual Student Symposium (CBASS) was held on Saturday, March 10 in the Life Sciences Facility, bringing together college and high school students to celebrate a science discipline that encompasses all aspects of life.
Corker and Lynch work in Professor Matthew Turnbull’s group.Image Credit: College of Science
A two-hour poster session was held in the atrium of the LSF, at which point students involved in original research projects could showcase their latest findings and discuss methods for moving forward in their experiments.
Alexa Corker, a junior in microbiology, and Sydney Lynch, a sophomore in genetics, work together in professor Matthew Turnbull’s biological sciences lab. Together the students study how a baculovirus – called Autographa californica multinucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) – infects a family of caterpillars.
“Initially, we were looking at how binding of the virus affected cell membrane polarization – if it would hyperpolarize, depolarize or stay normal, and we found that it actually depolarized the membrane. Then this semester, we’ve been seeing how oubain, an inhibitor of sodium-potassium ATPase, influences infectivity.”
ATPases are a class of enzymes that decompose ATP into ADP, releasing energy within cells. Corker and Turnbull discovered that when treating caterpillar gut cells with both the virus and oubain, the cells were less infected, indicating that ATPases might have a role in the severity of the virus.
Foster is a senior double major in genetics and psychology.Image Credit: College of Science
Corker and Lynch’s plan is to consider other inhibitors to see which ones block infection. Their experiment has applications in biotechnology and also provides a model for how other virus-host systems could prevent infection.
Mackenzie Foster, a student in professor Jennifer Mason’s genetics and biochemistry lab, studies a protein — known as RAD51 — that is involved in repairing harmful breaks to DNA.
Without a repair mechanism in …

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