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Undergraduate Research Center

Jillian Sherer

  • SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
  • Major: Biology
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Scott Handy

Current Focus: Fluorescent Probes Based on the Aurone Scaffold

Additional Interests: Proteins in biological systems

Project Description

Fluorescent labels can be used in many aspects of scientific research from bacterial identification to protein component determination. Aurones have extremely fluorescent properties and they are small, making them valuable in the observation of biological settings. I am working on a group project to develop a three part fluorescent probe that includes a reactive N-Hydroxysuccinimide ester along side of an aurone with a benzofuranone linker in between. The N-Hydroxysuccinimide has proved to bind specifically to amine groups and the activated aurone will make those groups fluoresce. With this label in hand, we can move towards the use of biochemical research to visualize distances between protein subunits through the use of Forster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET).

Why does this topic interest you?

Proteins run the world. Nearly everything in the human body revolves around their formation and functions. There are already fluorescent labels on the market, but they prove to be expensive, large in size, and difficult to work with. In making this aurone based probe, we hope to make protein analysis more readily available for future research groups.

What are your professional aspirations?

I plan to attend medical school in the hopes of becoming a surgeon in the future. Medicine and science have always piqued my interest and continue to draw me in.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Step outside of your comfort zone and do research in a field that you may not as be as familiar with. As a biology major, chemistry research helps provide me with a broader base of knowledge and understanding. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! One of the points of research is to learn so ask away!

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Thursday, September 5th, 4:30pm

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Jamie Burriss, Ph.D., Director
(615) 494-7669

Casey Penston, Coordinator
(615) 809-4588

Learn more about the URC