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MCCC Honors Science Students Continue to Pursue Challenging Research Opportunities

3/21/18


Pictured at the research presentations on March 5 are, from left, Professor of Chemistry Helen Tanzini, students Chris Racioppo, Luis Garcia and John Dodds, and Professor of Biology Diane Hilker.

West Windsor, N.J. – The Chemistry and Biology faculty at Mercer County Community College (MCCC) continue to oversee honors research opportunities for MCCC students ready for the challenge.  Three students carried out intensive lab projects over winter break in January and shared their findings with fellow students during presentations hosted by the Organic Chemistry Club on March 5.

All three students worked with scientists at Genesis Biotechnology Group (GBG) and two of its subsidiaries, Venenum Biodesign and Medical Diagnostics Laboratory. Since 2013, GBG has opened its Hamilton labs to close to 20 Mercer students, a testimony to GBG’s commitment to education and the preparedness of MCCC’s most motivated and curious science students.

Professor of Chemistry Helen Tanzini, who is co-coordinator of the Honors Research program with Professor of Biology Diane Hilker, notes that research programs like this one are more typically offered at four-year schools and graduate-level institutions. “We are so proud that our students consistently seek out these internships,” Tanzini said. “Their track record of success in assisting Ph.D. researchers keeps this partnership productive and engaging for all involved.”

As part of the research team, the three students learned lab protocols and procedures as they worked on solutions to some of today’s major diseases. Luis Garcia conducted his research under the guidance of Dr. Rachel Siegel (Venenum Biodesign) on “Effects of False-positive Ligands in Drug Discovery.” John Dodds worked with Dr. Ani Qu and Megan Cohalan (Medical Diagnostics Laboratory) on a project entitled “Preventing Autonomous Error in Hereditary Breast and Ovarian Cancer Genetic Testing.” Christopher Racioppo worked with Dr. Joe Nickels, Christina Gallo-Ebert and Josh Wayne (GBG) on “Drug Discovery Process for Treating Metabolic Syndrome.”

Mercer’s Honors Science Research Program began in 1999 and has been highly successful in providing specialized research opportunities in chemistry, biology, and, most recently, physics. In addition to area laboratories, the college has partnered with Princeton, Rider and Monmouth universities. To participate, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their science classes, be recommended by an MCCC professor, and devote a minimum of six hours per week at the research facility.


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