CI students from left to right
Lorenzo DeSantiago, Camille Peredo, Devon Dally,
Eric Needleman (from the CSU), Jason Torres, Susan Ly, Claudina Cammack
Photo compliments of the CI Chemistry Department
While some of us may have been feasting on leftover Christmas cookies or savoring our last days of sleeping in before the dawn of a new semester, several CI students including Susan Ly and Lorenzo DeSantiago were busy presenting their research at the CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB) symposium in Santa Clara over winter break. “It’s cool because you get immersed into everything… all the big companies are there,” said DeSantiago. “You have Google, Yahoo and biotechnology companies are everywhere.”

Ly and DeSantiago are part of a research team led by Dr. Blake Gillespie, associate professor of chemistry at CI. The team is dedicated to studying CusF, a protein found in E. coli, in hopes to better understand what governs protein stability. “We want to understand the basis of ligand-dependent stability,” said Ly. “We are not trying to cure a disease but many diseases arise from protein misfolding.” The team hopes to create a global model for protein stabilization that can be related to other proteins as well as CusF.
CI student Lorenzo DeSantiago 
Photo compliments of the CI Chemistry Department

In addition to allowing undergraduates the opportunity to present their own research, CSUPERB is an excellent place for students to make new connections in their field. “You get to network across different CSUs,” said DeSantiago.

Ly explained that her favorite part of the conference was viewing the other student’s research poster presentations. “It is really interesting to find out about what other students are doing,” said Ly. “Also, it is good practice to try to explain your own research in a way that a person outside your field can understand.”

Both Ly and DeSantiago expressed thanks for the opportunities that have been available to them at CI. “I am incredibly grateful for this research opportunity,” said Ly. “I know if I was at another school I would not be able to do the research I am doing now.” Interested parties will have a chance to check out Ly and DeSantiago’s project among other current research happenings at the 2012 Southern California Undergraduate Research Conference in Chemistry and Biochemistry (SCURCCB) that will take place in April on our very own CI campus.