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Laboratory research provides an opportunity to develop and conduct an independent project in an area of interest that could range from enzyme kinetics to drug delivery. Working on a practical, original problem in the laboratory stimulates excitement for science and reinforces what you have encountered in the classroom. All biochemistry majors are required to participate in a research project for at least one hour of course credit; up to four hours can be applied toward graduation. This provides you with a hands-on approach to learning and develops critical thinking skills that graduate and professional programs consider invaluable.

Research at CN

Beginning in the 1930’s, former chemistry professor Dr. Carl Bahner established a nationally-recognized undergraduate research program at Carson-Newman. This momentum continues today as the department maintains an impressive level of research proficiency. With help from grants and donations, we have been very fortunate to have an abundance of equipment and supplies. Students may participate in research as a directed project or as an honors project (see catalog for major requirements). Our faculty has a diverse array of interests and will work with students to develop an appropriate project.

Research opportunities off campus

While we have ample resources on campus, students may elect to conduct their research project off-site at a larger research university or during the summer at another college. Our students have recently participated in projects at the University of Tennessee, Wake Forest University, and Maryville College. They may also arrange for an internship with the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta

Recent research projects in biochemistry

Recent examples of projects in the area of biochemistry include several projects dealing with drug design and testing.

Students examined the cytotoxicity of an anticancer agent that was recently developed by medicinal chemists at the University of Tennessee. They looked at the effects of the drug on yeast, breast cancer, and leukemia cells in either a free or lipid-associated form. Students used a yeast deletion library of over 5000 yeast strains to screen antifungal or anticancer drugs. Each strain has one of 6000 potential genes inactivated and the resulting change in drug sensitivity can help us better understand their mechanisms of action. Students examined the effects of a novel lipid-like anticancer agent on leukemia cells either alone or in combination with a widely used agent, doxorubicin.


Recent examples of student or faculty presentations of biochemical research findings include

Ben Dalton gave a presentation at the Tennessee Academy of Sciences on the effect of modulating sphingolipids on cell signaling in yeast.Ben Helms gave a presentation at the Blue Ridge Undergraduate Research Conference on pheromone sensitivity in yeast as ergosterol levels are altered.
(Both of these students are now in medical school)Dr. Wright gave a presentation at the American Society of Cell Biology in Washington, D.C. on the effects of ketoconazole on signal transduction in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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