Eighth semester chemistry major Eric Mohan was a recent recipient of the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Award (supply-awards), helping him go to the University of Edinburgh to further research bacterial molecules.
“I was kind of bummed out that as a chemistry major I didn’t think I had any opportunities to go abroad,” Mohan said.
Then, he found out about the OUR Awards.
“They thought I could use the money, and I was gracially approved,” Mohan said. “This program was specific to the chemistry department.”
The OUR Awards don’t bring the student abroad; they simply help them get there financially.
“The OUR will provide up to $500 to undergraduate students engaged in research or creative projects to cover expenses associated with those projects,” the OUR Supply Awards website said. “This award is intended to support expenses that are specific to a student’s project and consumed through use in the student’s project.”
Specifically, Mohan worked on synthesizing a particular enzyme commonly found in diseases like tuberculosis.
“Essentially, this was a kind of continuation of work that the lab had been doing,” Mohan said. “I was charged with synthesizing a molecule commonly found in bacteria, that inhibits bacterial activity but spares human activity.”
Mohan’s specific studies showed no inhibition of the enzyme, but he said that it has been proven to work in previous tests.
“The idea is that if you can stop one of these enzymes from functioning correctly in the … pathways, you create a very powerful, a very potent antibiotic because the cell proliferation [is hindered],” Mohan said.
Mohan said he elected to work on this project because of his future aspirations.
“I picked something that works with my future goals of being a physician,” Mohan said.
Luke Hajdasz is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.