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Undergraduate student delves into research

April 8, 2011
By Kayla Green

With the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase nearing its date, sophomore Drew Neavin discusses the research she's been involved in.

Student concentrates in molecular biology

Sophomore Drew Neavin knew for years before coming to Colorado State University that she wanted to study molecular genetics. "My brother was diagnosed with Crohn's disease in the sixth grade. After that, I decided I wanted to study the genetics of Crohn's disease," said Neavin.

Because Crohn's disease is usually diagnosed during an individual's mid-twenties, Neavin found her brother's diagnosis to be an interesting anomaly and decided at that moment that she would like to study the genetic makeup of humans, eventually leading her to CSU's doorstep.

Creating DNA sequences

"We have a lot of undergraduate research, we're known for it. I've known I wanted to do research, even before I came to Colorado State," said Neavin, who has participated in two research studies since enrolling.

"This summer, we're focusing on nucleosomes and histones. We're going to be making different sequences of DNA to see how accurate the code is," she said.

According to Neavin, nucleosomes and histones are the proteins that help pack the DNA together to create a functional chain. It is debated that, because of the protein, the DNA will form in different sequences and can then control gene expression.

"Now we're doing background research on it, and this summer we'll be doing all the physical research. There's a lot that I've learned. You'll learn sometimes about the biochem side, then you'll read something that's different from another biochemist."

Looking to the future

Neavin and nearly 15 fellow undergraduate students will be presenting at the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase April 19 in the LSC Main Ballroom. "I've been able to do various conferences. It's been really fun to be able to see everyone's research, see their presentations, and talk to people."