Biology Students Present Research at Major Scientific Conference

Walla Walla University students Andrew Semotiuk (senior Biochemistry, pictured), Crystal Leanza (senior Biology), Stephanie Shin (junior Biology), and Ashley Goodacre (junior Biology) participated in the meetings of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) held in San Diego April 6-9, 2008.  They presented research they carried out with Biology faculty David Lindsey, who also attended the conference.

The ASBMB meetings were held in conjunction with other societies of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), including the societies of Anatomy (AAA), Immunology (AAI), Physiology (APS), Investigative Pathology (ASIP), Nutrition (ASN), and Pharmacology (ASPET).

Crystal Leanza and Andrew Semotiuk presented their research in the "Protein turnover in cell regulation" poster session.  The title of their research was "The role of a ubiquitin processing protease, UbpA, in the growth-to-development transition of Dictyostelium development."  The students' research is an attempt to understand how cells make the decision to stop growing and start developing into mature cells with specific functions.  Although the group studied a social amoeba, the problem is related and applicable to stress response and stem cell function in humans.

As first author, Andrew Semotiuk was invited to give an oral presentation.  Very few undergraduates are ever given this opportunity at the FASEB meetings.  In addition, Andrew was awarded a NSF travel award of $1250.  He gave the talk in a session with 5 other speakers: faculty and post-docs from Johns Hopkins, Yale, UC Berkeley, and University of Washington.