Emmett Among Students Presenting Research Projects
Grace Emmett

Misericordia University students, faculty members and an alumna recently presented research findings on a range of topics at the annual Pennsylvania Academy of Science Conference in Wilkes-Barre.

Junior biology majors Michael Blazaskie of Hanover Township and Atasha Rehrig of Lehighton, and senior biology majors Grace Emmett of Mountain Top and Andrea Nale of Gilbert, along with faculty members Jeffrey Stephens, Ph. D., assistant professor of physics, and Angela Asirvatham, Ph. D., associate professor and chair of the Department of Biology, presented their research, “Expression of Anchoring Proteins and Phosphatases Correlates with cAMP Levels in Immortalized Rat Schwann Cell Lines.” The interdisciplinary project, which studied the regulation of Schwann cells in rats, involved the departments of biology and physics.

In a second interdisciplinary project, Emmett and Dr. Stephens also combined biology and physics research for the presentation, “AFM Imaging of Human Chromosomes.” Their study was undertaken to determine if human chromosome banding can be detected by atomic force microscopy.

Rehrig, Blazaskie and Dr. Asirvatham presented their research, “Are A-Kinase Anchoring Proteins Involved in Myelination?,” a study of how Cyclic AMP –the universal second messenger –coordinates the balance between Schwann cell differentiation and its proliferation.

Senior biology major Trinity Sprague and alumna Amelia Poplawski, a 2014 biochemistry graduate, collaborated with Frank DiPino, Ph. D., professor of biology, and Jun Ling, Ph. D., assistant professor of molecular biology at Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Their presentation, “Site-Directed Mutagenesis of Human PAK2 Autophosphorylation Sites,” is part of an ongoing study of the PAK2 gene and its correlation to a variety of cancers, including breast cancer.

Larry Corpus, Ph. D., assistant professor of biology, presented, “Littoral Zone Diversity of Larval Caddisflies (Trichoptera) from Meadows Pond, Dallas,

Pennsylvania.”