Four students named Levinson Emerging Scholars

Congratulations to Margaux Pinney, Denis Smirnov, Christoffer Amdahl, and Derek Britain who have been named Levinson Emerging Scholars.

photoid150-150Margaux Pinney works in the lab of Chemistry Professor Jim Mayer. She originally investigated the potential for proton-coupled electron transfer at synthetic iron-sulfer clusters before moving on to her current independent project which investigates the reversibility of Compound I formation in horseradish peroxidase.


smirnov_dennisDenis Smirnov works with Prof. John Neumaier in Psychiatry to investigate the role of the Lateral Habenula and the Rostromedial Tegmental Nucleus in Cocaine Addiction. An important problem in the treatment of cocaine addiction is the vulnerability of previously addicted individuals to relapse to cocaine use months or even years after abstinence. The lateral habenula and the rostromedial tegmental nucleus are important regulators of the midbrain dopaminergic systems that are known to be involved in cocaine taking and relapse behaviors.


Derek_BritainDerek Britain works in Dr. Roger Brent’s lab at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Using budding yeast as a model organism, Derek researches how cells gather information from their environment, how this information is processed by the cell, and how a cell makes a decision based on the results. Currently, he is investigating the role microtubule end binding proteins play in signal transmission and fidelity. Derek is also investigating mutant forms of these proteins found in the human population, and if these mutations result in poor signal handling that could result in poor cell decisions.

Chris_AmdahlChristoffer Amdahl began work in the de la Iglesia lab sophomore year of college studying the Neurobiology of Circadian Rhythms. Currently, his project consists the examination of the phosphorylation state of Phosephodiesterase-5 and its role in the cGMP-mediated light induced phase advance that occurs in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. This will hopefully develop a better understanding of the neurochemical mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms, as well as the means to provide pharmacological treatment.

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