Lauren Edelman, 2014, Chemical and Biological Engineering
The goal of my research was to develop a protocol to investigate a protein, GSU1338, which could play a role in mercury uptake in the bacterium Geobacter sulfurreducens. This bacterium is known to methylate mercury; thus, it contributes to the process of biomagnifications of methyl mercury, an environmental concern. Understanding the process of methylation is important to minimizing the toxic effects of mercury contamination. My project was focused on developing a method for over-expressing, isolating, and purifying the GSU1338 protein. Specifically, I used Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), a method of amplifying a fragment of DNA, and gel electrophoresis to facilitate the construction of a plasmid vector, transformed the plasmid into E. coli, induced transcription, and began the isolation and purification of the protein. I learned new experimental techniques, like PCR, gel electrophoresis, and protein gels. I was exposed to scientific literature and gained insights on working independently to develop an experimental procedure. This internship introduced me to the field of environmental science. As a part of a research group, I listened to discussions about advancements in the field, and contributed my own small advancement. This internship has reaffirmed my interest in environmental science and has given me hands on experience.