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Emma G

- Research Program Mentor

PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate


Biochemistry, Chemical Biology, Molecular Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Molecular Medicine, Synthetic Biology

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Biochemistry and Chemical Biology of Medicine:

All of biology is based on chemistry, and therefore all human diseases and disorders can be described at a biochemical level. By understanding how the chemistry of a disease works, scientists can design and discover new medicines to treat these diseases, of course with many challenges along the way. Some diseases (such as sickle cell anemia) have relatively simple chemical mechanisms but difficult solutions, whereas others (such as most cancers) have chemically complicated causes and therapies. In this project you will learn about a disease mechanism of your choice at the molecular level, learning genetics, biochemistry, and chemical biology along the way and producing a final proposal aiming to answer an unknown question in the disease of choice or to develop a new therapy for that disease.

Chemical Epigenetics:

Your DNA encodes all of the information necessary to make the proteins that make up your body. However, every cell in your body contains the same DNA, but different cells carry out vastly different functions. How does each cell know what part of the DNA to use to be, for example, a neuron? Epigenetic marks are extra chemical groups added in certain locations of your DNA that help cells to identify what DNA they should be using and what parts they shouldn't. In this project you will learn about these different chemical groups, how they're added and removed, and how they tell the cell what parts of the DNA it should be using. At the end of the project you will write a blog post, make a video, or use another media of your choice to explain your new knowledge such that your classmates can understand what you've learned!

Proteins and Enzymes, Natural and Designed:

Proteins are one of the primary types of molecules that make up your body. For example, collagen in your skin and keratin in your hair and nails are both proteins. Enzymes are a special kind of protein that perform chemical reactions in your body. In this project you will explore different types of naturally occurring proteins and enzymes and learn how their chemical structure allows them to perform their functions. In addition, you'll learn about efforts to design artificial proteins for bio-engineering and therapeutic purposes. You will also learn how to use the protein structure viewing software pymol, and use this software to produce a primarily graphical (or video) final project explaining how a protein's structure allows it to perform its desired function.


"The experience was awesome. My mentor taught me a lot regarding things related with epigenetic and DNA and ways to find scientific papers. I received a lot of help from my mentor."


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