Elizabeth Johnson, a rising senior biochemistry major, was awarded $1,000 from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) to support her 2017 summer research project. Johnson will be working on a cross-disciplinary project with Dr. Pamela Mertz, Chair and Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Dr. Jessica Malisch, Assistant Professor of Biology, as part of SMCM’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). The title of her project is “Oh Say Can you CBG? A New Technique for Evaluating Stress Responses in Birds” which capitalizes on the expertise of biochemical mechanisms and methodology available in Dr. Mertz’s lab to help answer important biology research questions being explored in Dr. Malisch’s lab.
Corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG) is a protein involved in vertebrate animals’ response to stressors. CBG and the hormone corticosterone help coordinate organismal responses to changes in the environment, but most field biologists do not account for CBG due to difficulty obtaining accurate measurements. Johnson’s research as part of the SURF program in June and July, 2017 will attempt to make CBG quantification more practical. Better understanding of the role of CBG will help ecologists interpret physiological data collected in the field and may help lead to medical advances in treating human stress disorders.
The SURF program at SMCM involves students, mentored by a faculty member, engaging in scholarly or creative work for eight-weeks over the summer. The ASBMB is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization whose mission is to advance the science of biochemistry and molecular biology and to promote the understanding of the molecular nature of life processes.