Students take Action in the Gulf
This past Labor Day weekend, five chemistry students accompanied Professor Larsen on a tour of the coastlines of Mississippi and Louisiana to learn more about the effects of the BP oil spill. They brought back samples of the beach sand and water to study back at St. Mary's and to further their understanding of the many environmental issues facing the gulf.
Chem majors in San Francisco
From left to right: Brian, JP, Dr. Leah Eller, Rob, Nick, Danielle, Mike, Bertrand, Anita, Janice, Dr. Andy Koch, Tabitha (Now Dr. Clem), and Taylor. Emilie and Kristina couldn't make the photo.
Last Spring, 12 St. Mary's students attended the National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in San Fransico. Eight presented their work and we all met after Tabitha Clem's ('05) talk. Tabitha was just finishing up her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley.
"A Metabolomic Study of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure on Snapping Turtles
This study evaluates metabolomics as a method to examine the cellular chemistry changes in snapping turtle (Chelydra serpentina) livers as a result of exposure to Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs). The Hudson River in New York has been historically contaminated with PCBs that primarily reside in the sediments. Turtles and other benthic animals of the Hudson are at high risk of exposure to this potential carcinogen. Significant research has quantified PCB levels in the Hudson River ecosystem, but few studies have examined how high concentrations of PCBs may alter the chemical physiology of exposed organisms. Metabolomics is such a method. Metabolomics measures metabolic responses to changes in gene and protein expression. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy-based metabolomics allows for simultaneous measurements of a variety of polar and non-polar metabolites. In this study 1H-NMR and Principle Component Analysis (PCA) is used to differentiate metabolite profiles in samples of turtle livers. Turtle liver samples were obtained from the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory (CBL) where they were exposed to varying levels of PCBs. Samples were then analyzed using 1H-NMR single-pulse experiments and PCA. The findings from this study suggest that metabolomics is a useful method for studying the effects of PCBs as an environmental toxin in turtle livers. Future experiments will strengthen and support the understanding of metabolomics as a valuable method of analysis.