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Health Sciences Senior Wins First Place in Undergraduate Research Symposium

Saint Louis University (SLU) Health Sciences Senior Robert Green recently won first place in his section of the SLU Undergraduate Research Symposium for his research titled: Investigating Gpa2 Phosphorylation in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. Green presented his research to the faculty and graduate students of SLU’s Biology Department; as a result of his research earning top honors, Green will be invited to present his research at the Biology Department’s awards ceremony on May 8th.

Health Sciences Senior Rob Green

Health Sciences Senior Rob Green presenting his research.

For the past three semesters, Green’s research has focused on G-protein regulation in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. A recent study from Boston College proved that approximately 75% of all pharmaceutical drugs specifically target G-protein coupled receptors, so a greater understanding of how the G-protein pathways function has the potential to significantly impact the world of medicine.

Green was not able to enjoy the award when he first learned that it had happened because shortly after the symposium, he unexpectedly had to take a friend to a hospital and remained there for some time. After leaving the hospital and allowing some time to pass, though, Green began to better appreciate his accomplishment.

“Now that I have had time to reflect, I am very proud of myself,” Green said. “I am so grateful to Dr. Yuqi Wang [the SLU Biology professor in whose lab Green conducted his research] because without him I would not have had this opportunity…I just feel blessed to have been able to conduct research at SLU. It increased my love for the sciences and hopefully brought further recognition to the University.”

After graduating from SLU in the spring, Green plans to work in a research position for a year before entering a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS/DMD) program. Although he is unsure if he will have an opportunity to continue research on G-protein regulation, he is excited about where the research could eventually lead.

“Identifying specific targets within the interim of G-protein transduction pathway could help create more effective drugs. It could also help create alternative drug solutions for current conditions and even unknown conditions,” Green said. “To give a broad example, if fully comprehended – far down the road – you could prevent human G-protein coupled receptors from developing drug tolerance, so individuals would not have to continuously up their dosages of drugs.”

As a student in the Health Sciences program, Green is a student in the Clinical Health Sciences (CHS) department. CHS Department Chairperson Amy Harkins, PhD, was very proud of not only the award that Green received for his research, but also of his learning process that led up to the honor.

“I am very pleased for Rob to have won this recognition in the Biology Department. He has been able to discover the scope of an entire research project, from learning the project to learning the techniques to do the research. After only three semesters of what I am sure was hard work and dedication to the project, even when an experiment may not have worked initially, his research has come together in this presentation. He has been able to present at a national meeting for the American Society for Cell Biology and at SLU’s Senior Legacy Symposium. It is the process to prepare a presentation that usually solidifies the why’s of doing research for students, not just the how’s of doing research. I am very pleased that he was given this opportunity to work with Dr. Wang.”

Learn more about SLU’s Health Sciences Program

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of nearly 13,000 students on two campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good.