By Haley Silverstein
From muscular atrophies to schizophrenia, brain and muscle development diseases are numerous while their treatments are few and far between. Kyle Loftus worked on research during the summer to one day change that.
Loftus, a junior from Fulton, N.Y., who is majoring in economics and biochemisty, examined the nuclear pore complex, the site where proteins transfer in and out of the nucleus of the cell. He focused on the interactions of two proteins, identifying their interacting domains and their recruitment of motor proteins to the cell during the cell cycle.
"[This project] sheds light on parts of the cell cycle that aren't well developed yet," Loftus said.
As a Harpur College student selected for the 2015 Summer Scholars and Artists Program, Loftus said he looked forward to spending eight weeks immersed in the lab.
"I thought it would be a really cool experience to work fulltime on research because over the past winter break, the week before everyone moved in, I was here working full time in the lab," Loftus said.
The project, titled "Uncovering the Molecular Mechanism for G2phase dynein Recruitment to the Cell Nucleus," was a continuation of the work Loftus did with Sozanne Solmaz, an associate professor of biological chemistry, over the past year.
Loftus has worked with Solmaz to express and purify the proteins.
"Right now, we're just trying to pinpoint in what conditions they grow best so we have those on file and we can get more protein over the summer if we need it," he said.
Solmaz said Loftus is highly motivated with a positive attitude.
"It is a pleasure to work with him," she said. "He has already made tremendous progress and learned several advanced biochemical methods in the lab."
Although Loftus was always interested in science, he had never worked in a lab before. What he enjoyed most about the work was the independence.
"It's nice getting concrete evidence of something and feeling like you're the first person to get this information," he said.
Loftus is also a Binghamton University Scholar and a member of the Undergraduate Chemical Society. In the spring, he helped organize a Science Olympiad and science day for children at the Roberson Museum and Science Center in downtown Binghamton.
"Being able to expose them to science at a young age, develop their interest in it so they have a drive to pursue it in the future, I think it's a really cool experience," he said.
Last Updated: 3/1/17