Getting Hands-On Experience


St. Mary's chemistry and biochemistry majors were busy this summer participating in research and medical internships on campus and around the country.  Ashton Engdahl (above) spent her summer developing a green synthesis of functionalized pyrroles on campus with a paid research internship through our campus SMURF program.

Awards Aplenty in New Orleans

A generous contribution from the John J. Leidy Foundation allowed eight St. Mary's students to attend the 245th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans where they presented posters describing their research.  Josh Olexa ('13) explains his poster to a judge, and former American Chemical Society president, in the Speak Simply Contest where students were judged on their ability to explain their research. St. Mary's was well represented, as Josh and Greg Triegger ('13) were both awarded for their posters.


"A Metabolomic Study of Polychlorinated Biphenyl Exposure on Snapping Turtles

Marka R. Fenske
Mentor: Dr. Randolph K. Larsen III
St. Mary's College of Maryland, 2006-2007

    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.