This summer Dr. Faina Ryvkin’s research group traveled to Washington D.C to attend the American Chemical Society national meeting at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. A part of this research team is senior chemistry major, Louis Booysen. Louis had the amazing opportunity to present the research that he and his team have been working on throughout the academic years and the summer.
In general, the group is interested in determining the overall structure of Lysyl Oxidase, which is a catalytic enzyme that functions in the extracellular matrix of the cell. The importance behind this research lies in the fact that Lysyl Oxidase is involved in a multitude of fibrotic diseases and also plays a role in some forms of cancer.
The main problem with Lysyl Oxidase is the fact that the x-ray structure of the enzyme is unknown. This summer, Louis along with other members of his group made use of molecular modeling experiments in order to better understand the three dimensional structure of Lysyl Oxidase. They employed both homology modeling and threading techniques in hopes of uncovering new leads to the three dimensional structure of the Lysyl Oxidase. The future work of the group lies in taking the three-dimensional structure that they uncover and running in-silico experiments to speculate on the functions of the enzyme as a whole.
One of Louis’ favorite parts of attending the American Chemical Society conference was meeting with Dr. Karl Lopez, a professor at California State University Bakersfield. Louis stated that Dr. Lopez was a fellow Lysyl Oxidase researcher. Louis stated that, “Dr. Lopez was very helpful in providing constructive criticism on ways to improve our research even further as well as providing a lot of new insight into what his research group is pursuing with regards to Lysyl Oxidase.
Collaboration is an imperative part of science. It is truly amazing and inspiring what people can accomplish when they put their ideas together and share some of their most complex thoughts. Without collaboration, science could not progress which in turn would hinder society from progressing. Overall, it is remarkable to see chemistry and biology students from Emmanuel traveling to share their research and gaining new insight.