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.