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January 14, 2020 - King’s College students Zoe Waizenegger and Marielle Roberts-McDonald, recently presented their research at the 2019 joint meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) and European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

Waizenegger, senior biochemistry and molecular biology major, worked closely with Dr. Julie Belanger, associate professor of chemistry, on the thermal analysis of lipids in bilayer membranes using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). She used purified lipids, not the cells themselves, to determine the effect that small molecules (such as pharmaceutical drug mimics) have on the melting transition in lipid membranes. Waizenegger’s research is important in understanding how small molecules interact with lipids, as may happen in certain pharmaceutical drug delivery applications.

Roberts-McDonald, senior biology major, worked under the guidance of Dr. Barbara Fenner, associate professor of biology. Her research focused on the role of inflammation in the degenerative process of Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Specifically, she used a two-hit model of PD where she mildly distresses neuronal cells and then exposes these cells to activated microglia (the inflammatory cells of the brain). The results from Roberts-McDonald’s research are important in understanding how microglial go from being part of the healthy brain to causing disease.

The 2019 ASCB/EMBO meeting focused on cell biology as the fundamental basis of biology.

Pictured from left are Marielle Roberts and Zoe Waizenegger.