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From diabetes to roller coasters, student research recognized at UH contest
Date:1/30/2008

n be seen from my degrees, Chaudhury said. Physics was always a wonder to me because of the intrigue and mysteries of nature itself.

Second-place winner Carmen Rezniks project leader is Christy Landes, assistant professor of chemistry. Her singular molecule studies may one day greatly impact human health.

I have always been intrigued by molecular level processes particularly things like transport of chemical entities throughout the human body, and the changes in shapes of large molecules like proteins when they undergo reactions, Reznik said. This probably started with the science fiction I began reading as a kid books like Fantastic Voyage by Isaac Asimov and many others. From all of that speculative fiction, I developed the rather unscientific sense that a whole universe of important business conducts itself with a great deal of purpose, far beneath our perceptive capabilities. My project brings about the opportunity to inspect this intriguing universe and watch exactly how single molecules behave, using single molecule spectroscopy.

She said she has a more sophisticated motivation, as well.

Subtle changes in both structure and shape of important molecules in our bodies impact human health tremendously. For instance, Alzheimers, diabetes and Parkinsons diseases all have a common root the misfolding of necessary and normally benign proteins in our bodies. Single-molecule studies will ultimately contribute a great deal of understanding to questions such as why large molecules like proteins sometimes begin to fold their long string-like structure into an incorrect shape.

Reznik obtained her B.S. in chemistry from the University of Houston and spent 10 years working in private industry. She is currently a second-year graduate student in the UH chemistry department and intends to continue her research at a research institution like UH.

Christiana Chang, an undergraduate student in mechanical e
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Contact: Lisa Merkl
lkmerkl@uh.edu
713-743-8192
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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