Wednesday, December 20, 2017

URSP Student Kale Holtom Works on the Creation of the Chemical Conjugate of FK506

My project this semester was to work on the creation of the chemical conjugate of FK506. FK506 is a compound used in medicines that has immunosuppressant properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties. The medicines that this compound is used in are usually given to organ transplant recipients. The main goal of this project was to attach a BODIPY compound to the immunosuppressant site on the FK506 to eliminate the immunosuppressant properties. This new compound would go through animal studies and eventually clinical trials. In the end, it should hopefully be able to be used for a multitude of diseases and issues.

This project is very important to me because it has to potential to assist others in the future. One of the greatest hopes that I have in life is to help others, so being able to work on this project encourages this desire. Working with Dr. Young-Ok You as a research assistant in the 2016-2017 school year, I was able to learn about her project that she is working on and about the lab as a whole. This led Dr. You to asking me if I would want to possibly come up with a project to work on for myself. I agreed, and I applied to OSCAR.

I want to work in biochemistry and in a laboratory setting when I graduate, so this was amazing experience for me. The experience of working on my own project was also valuable as it stimulated me to think outside of the box and to take responsibility for a timeline.

On a weekly basis, I will go to the lab and run a reaction. This reaction takes around two hours, so in that time I will assist others who are working in the lab. Then, I will purify the reaction product and run it through a few tests to confirm its identity. This data is then used for my project.

This term, I discovered the most efficient way of creating a new compound and then purifying it. This could help many in the future. I also learned how to work with lab equipment and how to collaborate well with others in a laboratory setting.