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Samuel Carlson, Undergraduate Research Assistant

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I am a junior at the University of Minnesota from Bemidji, Minnesota. I am studying Biochemistry, and Genetics, Cell Biology, and Cellular Development (GCD). I am a member of the Division 1 Minnesota Men’s Track and Field, and Cross Country Teams. I plan to attend Medical School upon completion of my undergraduate degree.

Research Interests

My research interest is primarily in the structure-activity relationship of small-molecule effectors of the membrane protein pump, SERCA. SERCA functions to pump toxic cytosolic calcium against its concentration gradient, back to the endoplasmic reticulum via ATP hydrolysis. The specific targeting of SERCA by small-molecules may lead to various drug therapies for human diseases, such as cancer, muscular dystrophy, and diabetes.

I use primarily fluorescence spectroscopy and biochemical enzyme assays to determine structural changes in the protein, SERCA. Information provided by these experiments is useful for binding site determination, binding affinity, and the induced effect from drug binding. Structure-activity relationship is useful to medicinal chemists for fine tuning small-molecule compounds for better selectivity and specificity in drug therapy.