Regional meeting report: The Active Site

By Kristian Teichert

Editor’s note: The Northeast Regional Meeting was supported by the ASBMB Student Chapters Regional Meeting Award. The 2017 application deadline is Jan. 13.


Student organizers at the Northeast regional meeting

On Oct. 16, 2016, the ASBMB student chapter at Northeastern University hosted the ASBMB Student Chapters Northeast Regional Meeting, called The Active Site. The purpose of this meeting was to provide undergraduate students interested in biochemistry with the opportunity to network with other students in the area, present their research and to hear biochemistry professionals speak about both their research and career trajectories.

The keynote lecture was given by Priscilla Yang, Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School. Yang spoke about her transition from a chemist/chemical biologist studying catalytic antibodies to a virologist studying hepatitis B and hepatitis C viruses. She then discussed how these experiences shaped her career as a chemical biologist studying viral pathogens. Currently, she works to understand how these pathogens interact with their host at the molecular level to replicate and how this interaction can lead to disease. Her main piece of advice for the undergraduate audience was simply to follow their curiosity and interests, and there will be a way to make it work.

Dr. Yang’s lecture was followed by the poster session. There were over 14 colleges and universities in attendance, from as close as Emmanuel College and Wentworth Institute of Technology, to as far as Roger Williams University and University of Massachusetts Amherst. Thirty-two posters were presented by undergraduate students from these universities. Although there was more interest, space was limited.

Presenters competed for three ASBMB travel awards to help subsidize the cost of presenting their research at the 2017 ASBMB annual meeting in Chicago. The three awardees were Jasper Du from Tufts University, Tyler Jensen from Northeastern University and Anjali Pandey from University of Massachusetts Boston.

Du presented research on increasing the bioavailability of GLP-1, a gut hormone with the potential to prevent diabetes, by chemically modifying it to prevent the enzyme that degrades GLP-1 from recognizing it. Jensen’s research focused on lung regeneration in the axolotl salamander and his work to elucidate the function of the epidermal growth factor receptor in this process. Pandey presented research on using modified macrophages to deliver biotherapeutics to solid tumors.

This is the second year we have hosted this regional meeting, and it was an exciting experience to meet so many people from different universities interested in various topics connected by biochemistry. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to hear about some awesome science but also to meet and interact with other biochemistry students in the area! The ASBMB student chapter at Northeastern University had a wonderful time organizing this event, and any chapters interested in organizing one for the first time can contact us if they have questions.



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