Biochemistry major worked on bionanotechnology project with Tina Huang, assistant professor of chemistry
Biochemistry major Jennifer Czochor ’10 (Boothwyn, Pa.) presented her research in the area of bionanotechnology and nanoscale science at the 59th Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (Pittcon), which ran March 1-6 in New Orleans, La.
Started in 1950, Pittcon is the world’s largest and most comprehensive conference and exposition devoted to laboratory science. It attracts more than 20,000 attendees from industry, academia, and government from 80 countries worldwide.
In the analytical chemistry poster session sponsored by the American Chemical Society, Czochor presented a project she worked on in the summer and fall of 2007 as an EXCEL scholar with Tina Huang, assistant professor of chemistry.
“This has definitely been an excellent learning opportunity for me,” says Czochor, who is also a member of the women’s swimming team. “Not only did I get to develop lab skills, but I also was able to present a poster at one of the largest chemistry conferences in the country. Just getting to see the magnitude of Pittcon and all of the different things that are being done in analytical chemistry today was a great experience.”
In the research, Czochor developed experimental protocols to immobilize various forms of the protein phycocyanin on gold surfaces. She also studied the protein-surface interactions between phycocyanin and gold surface using an atomic force microscope to take pictures at the nanoscale.
These interactions are of particular interest in the fabrication of protein-arrays and protein-based biosensors which have applications in disease diagnostics, genomics, and environmental monitoring.
“I think this area of research is pretty interesting because of its applications to biosensors,” says Czochor. “The more we understand about protein-surface and protein-protein interactions, the easier it will be to develop new and more efficient sensors. Nanotechnology is also a fairly recent field of research, so it is exciting to be working with such modern instrumentation.”
She is grateful to the EXCEL program for this opportunity. “It’s not often that undergraduates get to participate in research with their professors, and I’m really happy that I got to have such an excellent experience.”
- Chemistry & Biochemistry
- EXCEL/Undergraduate Research