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Biochemistry

Research Opportunities

Student involvement in independent research is a critically important component of undergraduate education at Smith College. Independent research allows students to develop and investigate a defined hypothesis. In doing this, our biochemistry majors truly learn about how science is completed—from experimental design to troubleshooting to writing and critical review of their research. Through these experiences, our students gain valuable skills that help them in their careers beyond Smith College, either for entrance into graduate or professional schools or in acquiring their first entry-level position.

Research Opportunities

Faculty Research

The faculty in biochemistry offer research opportunities in their specific fields of interest. To learn about the research interests of our faculty, read about each professor's research on his or her individual Web page and contact them directly for more information about current opportunities.

Special Studies & Honors

Students can receive academic credit by completing a Special Studies or honors research project with a biochemistry faculty member or a biochemistry-related project with a faculty member outside the program (subject to approval). See the Special Studies and Honors page for descriptions and requirements for these programs.

Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program (Smith SURF)

The Smith SURF program sponsors approximately 100–120 students each summer to complete a 10-week, full-time research paid project in the labs of science faculty. These research opportunities are often continued during the school year for academic credit.

STRIDE and AEMES Programs

Biochemistry faculty participate in the STRIDE and AEMES program in which first year students are invited to participate in the program and are matched with a faculty research mentor. The Student Research in Departments Program (STRIDE) Program is a college-wide program for academically excellent first year students. The Achieving Excellence in Math, Engineering, and Sciences (AEMES) Program is dedicated to building a community of diverse students in the sciences, math and engineering.

Research and Teaching Assistants

Opportunities for paid positions as a research or teaching assistant are sometimes offered by faculty in biochemistry. Contact each faculty member directly or check JobX for postings.

Supporting Research: Life Science Centers

Smith College supports the research and teaching of the faculty and students through various interdisciplinary Centers at Smith College. The purpose of each Center is to offer a broad array of equipment and training to allow undergraduates to perform hands-on research with sophisticated, modern methodologies. To facilitate this, each Center is managed by an Instrumentation and Techniques Instructor who provides technical support, one-on-one training, and workshops periodically throughout the year on specific techniques.

The Life Sciences Centers include:

Research Symposia and Scientific Meetings

Life Science Student Research Symposium and Collaborations

The Life Sciences Student Research Symposium gathers students from a variety of departments and programs, including biochemistry, to present their biologically-related projects. Students present their research in a poster format identical to that at national scientific meetings. Biochemistry students also present their projects at the campus-wide, day-long event Celebrating Collaborations: Students and Faculty Working Together where the entire Smith College community of undergraduate researchers presents their independent work.

Student Participation at National and Regional Scientific Meetings

In addition to on-campus events, research students frequently attend regional and local scientific meetings with their faculty advisers at which they present their work through talks or poster presentations. In recent years, students in the life sciences have presented their research at the national meetings for the American Society for Microbiology; American Chemical Society; American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; American Society for Cell Biology, Society for Neuroscience; American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Physiological Society; and the Keystone Symposium on Molecular and Cellular Biology among others.

Recent publications and presentations by biochemistry students

Student Co-Authored Papers

(BCH student in bold)

Metskas, L. A., M. Kulp and S. P. Scordilis. "Gender Dimorphism in the Exercise-naive Murine Skeletal Muscle Proteome." Cell Molec Biol. Lett., 15 In Press, 2010.

Stansfield, H. E., B. P. Kulczewski, K. E. Lybrand, and E. R.Jamieson, "Identifying Protein Interactions with Metal-Modified DNA Using Microarray Technology." J. Biol. Inorg. Chem. 2009, 14, 193–199.

Tsikolia M., A. C. Hall, C. Suarez, Z. O. Nylander, S. M. Wardlaw, M. E. Gibson, K. L. Valentine, L. N. Onyewadume, D. A. Ahove, M. Woodbury, M. M. Mongare, C. D. Hall, Z. Wang, B. Draghici, and A. R. Katritzky (2009). "Synthesis and characterization of a redox-active ion channel supporting cation flux in lipid bilayer." Journal of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 7, 3862–3870.

White-Ziegler, Christine A., S. Um, N. Peréz, A. L. Berns**, A, J. Malhowski**, and S. Young. "Low temperature (23 ˚C) increases expression of biofilm-, cold-shock- and RpoS-dependent genes in Escherichia coli K-12." Microbiology. 2008 Jan;154(Pt 1):148–66.

Chowdhury, T., E. R. Jamieson. "C4' Sugar Oxidation of Deoxyribonucleotide Triphosphates by Chromium(V) Complexes," Mutation Research 2006, 610, 66–73.

Hall, A.C., C. Suarez, A. Hom-Choudhory, A. N. A. Manu, C. D. Hall, G. J. Kirkovits, I. Ghiriviga. (2003). "Cation transport by a redox-active synthetic ion channel." Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry, 1, 2973–2982.

White-Ziegler, Christine A., A. M. Black, S. H. Eliades**, S. Young**, and K. Porter**. "The N-acetyltransferase RimJ responds to environmental stimuli to repress pap fimbrial transcription in Escherichia coli." Journal of Bacteriology. 2002 Aug;184(16):4334–42.

Presentations at national or regional meetings

"Using Cl-NMR To Detect Anionic Flux Mediated by Antibiotics" Kerry Valentine, Adam C. Hall and Cristina Suárez. American Chemical Society CVS Undergraduate Symposium, April 2009.

"Cation transport by novel redox-active synthetic ion channels." Mary Banks, Samrawit A. Gebre, Angela Saquibal, Monica Wang, Adam C. Hall, C. Dennis Hall, and Cristina Suárez. (Presenters: Zazi Nylander, Margaret Mongare, Louisa Onyewadume and Maya Woodbury) 234th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, August 2007.

"Cation transport by redox-active synthetic ion channels" Cristina Suácrez, Adam C. Hall, C. Dennis Hall, Anu Maharjan and Angela Saquibal. 232nd National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, September 2006.

Stansfield, H. E., B. P. Kulczewski, K. E. Lybrand, and E. R. Jamieson. "Investigation of Protein-DNA Interactions using Protein Microarray Technology" Poster Presented at the 11th Boston Regional Inorganic Colloquium Meeting, Amherst, MA, July 2006.

Angelosanto, J., and C. A. White-Ziegler. "RimJ, a regulator that controls pap fimbrial transcription in response to environmental stimuli in Escherichia coli" Poster given at the American Society for Microbiology 105th General Meeting. June 2005.

Slack, J., A. LeClerc, A. J. Malhowski, and C. A. White-Ziegler. "Expression analysis and functional domain mapping of RimJ, an environmental regulator of pap fimbrial transcription in Escherichia coli" Poster given at the American Society for Microbiology 104nd General Meeting. May 2004.

Eliades, S. H., S. Mehta, C. A. White-Ziegler. "Regulation of pap fimbrial transcription by RimJ and S5 acetylation in Escherichia coli." Talk and poster given at the American Society for Microbiology 102nd General Meeting. May 2002. Stacie Eliades was an ASM Undergraduate Research Fellow whose project and travel was supported by ASM.

Seminars & Lunchbags

Life Sciences Colloquia/Chemistry Seminars

Scientists from around the country are invited to present their current research at Smith College. The biochemistry program participates in both the Life Sciences Colloquium Series and the Chemistry Seminar Series.

Life Sciences/Chemistry and Biochemistry Lunchbags

During the weekly lunch bag series, students present either their own research or a recent paper from the primary literature. These more informal settings allow an atmosphere where students feel comfortable to ask questions of the presenter as well as to be questioned on their own work. Biochemistry students participate in both the Life Sciences Lunchbag held on Mondays and the Chemistry and Biochemistry Lunchbags held on Wednesdays.

K-12 Outreach

Biochemistry and other Life Science majors can be involved in the Interterm Science Teaching Internship to experience teaching in a high school classroom. In this program, Smith students teach a laboratory on the molecular genetics of taste perception to 9th grade biology students at the nearby Northampton High School. The interns teach the students at the high school for the first two days of the experiment, then host the NHS students at Smith where they complete the experiment and tour the college's Life Science Centers: the Center for Molecular Biology (CMB), the Center for Microscopy (CMI) and the Center for Proteomics (CFP). This internship is a great opportunity for Smith undergraduates to explore teaching and see if it might be a future career for them. More information is available on the CMB Web site.