Spring break…at the Biophysical Society meeting!

James Gorman presenting his researchProfessor Feller and chemistry majors Mike Lu ’12, Shengshuang Zhu ’13, Bo Wang ’13, and James Gorman ’13 are spending the majority of the spring break at the annual meeting of the Biophysical Society in Baltimore, Maryland. The meeting is huge, with more than 6000 scientists in attendance and over 4000 presentations on the latest research in biophysics.
Wabash is well represented. Yesterday afternoon professor Feller, Mike, and Shengshuang presented their posters. Mike and Shengshuang described their research into atomic details of early steps in the vision process using quantum chemical molecular modeling while Professor Feller presented a collaborative research project with colleagues from Germany that examines the mechanism by which the N-Ras protein, a key component in cell signaling and a common source of cancer causing mutations, binds to cell membranes.
In the morning, James Gorman gave an oral presentation, to an audience of more than a hundred researchers, on differences he observed in the properties of cholesterol and vitamin E and how this may be involved in the protection of polyunsaturated lipids in cell membranes. An oral presentation slot is highly coveted at the meeting and there would no doubt have been an angry mob of postdocs and graduate students if they knew that James had earned one as a college sophomore. Luckily, James was so cool and polished that no one in the room suspected that he was an undergraduate (one of the session organizers referred to him as “Dr. Gorman”. Tomorrow Bo Wang will make the last presentation of the group when he presents his poster on protein-protein interactions and how these are modified by changes in lipid structure.

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