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Benjamin Lantz: Proteins, Science and Research

Aug 13, 2017 by

An Interview with Benjamin Lantz: Proteins, Science and Research

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

1) Benjamin, first of all, tell us about yourself, and your major and minor.

I am currently a Senior here at ENMU, I run Cross Country and Track & Field for the Greyhounds, and I am working towards a major in Biology with Chemistry and Psychology minors. I am interested in pursuing a career in either dentistry or research closely related to clinical trials.

2) Now, I am aware that you just won a very prestigious honor. Tell me about it and how far you had to travel to accept it.

Our lab traveled to Montreal, Canada to participate in the Protein Society’s 31st Annual Symposium. This symposium allows protein researchers from all over the world to come together and present their recent findings and achievements. The conference is a very social event, persuading researchers to network and collaborate in the future. Our trip to Montreal and back lasted six and a half days, with the first and last days spent driving/flying.

benjamin with committee chair

Benjamin shaking hands with Dr. John Osterhout, the abstract review committee chair.

3) Who else was involved in your project or research?

There are a number of other people that are involved with my project, Dr. Elliott Stollar, Dr. Tom Brown, Matthew Dominguez, Valeria Jaramillo Martinez, and Rebecca Rhode being key contributors.

4)  How many others competed against you in this contest?

The undergraduate poster competition had around 150 participants, though the conference brought together close to 500 poster presenters in total.

5) Now on to the research itself – what exactly did you investigate and what exactly did you find?

The research I have been doing for the past two years has been on the effects that salts have on electrostatic interactions in the yeast Abp1 SH3 domain, a protein also found in humans, as well as domain-peptide hybrids. I have found that changing the concentration of salt in the environment around both groups of proteins leads to significate changes in stability.

6) What do you see as the implications of your study or research?

In our lab, the overall goal is to understand protein structure by growing crystals, which can only be done if the protein is highly stable. However, far far down the road, this research could possibly be implemented in a human related area like drug development, where protein stability is important for drug longevity.

7) What have I neglected to ask?

Do I enjoy what I am doing, and will it help me in my future?

Yes, I enjoy doing research and working in the ENMU Biochemistry lab, especially because of the people I work with. Working in this lab has given me many great opportunities and has taught me a variety of important skills needed to be successful in the future.

lantz montreal poster final

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