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Pomona College Receives $60,000 Grant for Student Research

Pomona College has been awarded a 2007 Merck/American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP), which provides up to $60,000 over three years to fund research projects by 12 students. Pomona was one of just 15 colleges and universities across the country to receive the grant, which is designed to foster interaction between biology and chemistry departments.

Diana Chen ‘09 will identify and characterize homing endonucleases from hot, subsurface environmental samples in order to help us understand how DNA is transferred between organisms in an isolated environment.

Diana Koulechova ‘08 will characterize a series of newly discovered homing endonucleases, enzymes that recognize and cleave specific long DNA sequences.

Erik Lykken ‘09 will investigate the effects of naturally occurring polyphenoic compounds on the growth of mammalian cells as well as on the growth and aging of yeast. He will then assess the type and level of oxidative damage induced by these compounds in vitro.

Amelia Yu ‘09 will examine the genes of yeast to see if broken ends of genes increase during aging. She will test the effects of a compound found in red wine on the aging of genes in mutant yeast and normal yeast.

Participating faculty are Andre Cavalcanti, Cris Cheney, E.J. Crane, Roberto Garza-Lopez Laura Hoopes, Tina Negritto, Mal Johal, Cynthia Selassie, Len Seligman, and Jonathan Wright.

The grant is funded by the Merck Institute for Science Education and administered by AAAS.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships with faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.