Stephanie Ketcham '08
What has your
Saint Michael's experience been like, in particular your experience
as a biology major?
I have enjoyed my three and a half years at Saint Michaelís. I
have enjoyed getting to know my professors, both within the biology
department and those I have had for liberal studies requirement
courses. The small classes made me feel that students were the
focus, and that my success was not only important to me but also to
the professors. The opportunities here have been excellent. My
interest in lab and course work led me to an internship at Green
Mountain Antibodies, as well as the opportunity to work with
Professor Mark Lubkowitz on the oligopeptide transport research.
While I feel that the biology and other science courses I have
taken have prepared me to pursue several avenues after graduation, I
am also glad that I took liberal studies courses. Because of the
general requirements I have taken courses that I probably would have
avoided for various reasons, but through these classes I found that
there were aspects of almost any topic that interest me. Looking
back there is really nothing that I would change about my college
Currently I am working on a research project
with Professor Lubkowitz. Previously in Professor Lubkowitzís
laboratory, it was verified that four Oligopeptide
transporters (OPT) are expressed during the germination of rice
embryos. We are trying to determine what peptides are transported
by individual OPTs. To achieve this we are using a genetically
modified strain of Sacchromyces cerevisiae that have been
transformed with vectors containing individual OPT genes and have
had endogenous amino acid synthesis genes removed.
We are using these transformed strains of yeast
in a growth assay. By plating the transformed yeast onto agar with
individual peptides it is possible to determine whether or not the
OPT is able to transport the peptide based upon whether or not it is
able to grow. We recently had some positive results with one of the
OPTs, so I am working on verifying this data in order to confirm
that it is reproducible.
What are you
planning to do after you graduate?
After graduation I am planning on attending graduate school to
complete a Ph.D. program. Currently I am in the middle of my
interviews. Itís really an exciting time, seeing the opportunities
that I have, as well as getting to see all of the interesting
research that is occurring across the country. After completing a
Ph.D. program I am planning on entering into a research career.