Undergraduate research performed at University of Arkansas (U of A) has garnered national recognition and publication in the journal Biochemistry recently.
Jordana Thibado's work
began in Professor Roger Koeppe's lab during her freshman year.
Thibado's paper, "Influence of High pH and Cholesterol
on Single Arginine-Containing Transmembrane Peptide Helices," was based on
the experiments conducted on peptide helices.
The helices mimic components of
cell membranes. When she inserted arginine, an amino acid, into the helix and
exposed it to cholesterol, the results varied according to the position of the
When placed in the center of the helix, it was driven out of the lipid
membrane's surface. When inserted into other parts of the helix and exposed to cholesterol,
"The future challenge is to figure out why cholesterol
has such a big effect on one of these samples, and not on the other, because we
don't understand why this is happening," Koeppe said. "Cholesterol is
much studied, but many of the fundamental properties still are not well
Thibado's undergraduate research won first place three times
at national and regional conferences. She received a bachelor's in chemistry at U of
A. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in physiology, biophysics and
systems biology at Weill Medical College, located in New York. Weill is Cornell
University's medical campus.
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