Budding chemist studies folic acid to target tumor cells
Summer program bridges students to a future in science, research
Bridges to the Future Program participant Brittany Ulloa conducting research in Professor GutiÃ©rrezÂs lab.
After spending 10 weeks this summer reading through scientific studies and running experiments in a chemistry lab at Cal State L.A., Brittany Ulloa wants to delve further into her research involving folic acidÂs ability to target tumor cells and its potential for drug delivery and biotechnology.
This fall, she will transfer to Cal State L.A. through the UniversityÂs Honors College. She will also be involved with the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Program, one of the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) Programs at CSULA.
Ulloa, who currently attends Pasadena City College, explained that she is choosing to pursue a biochemistry degree at CSULA due to the UniversityÂs Âamazing research and educational enrichment programs.Â
Working alongside postdoctoral associate Claudia Molina in Professor Carlos GutiÃ©rrezÂs lab, Ulloa has been studying ÂFolic acid as a targeting domain on 1,3,5,7-tetrakis(aminomethyl)adamantineÂ as a participant of CSULAÂs Bridges of the Future summer program.
The program, funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is focused on developing the pool of talented minority students who will eventually become leaders in biomedical research.
ÂThe aim of our research is to make modular units that bear molecular domains that are recognized by cancer cell surface receptors,Â said Ulloa. ÂThese can be attached to diagnostic or therapeutic agents, increasing the efficacy of these. We are doing this by attaching multiple folic acids units onto an adamantane core.Â
According to faculty adviser GutiÃ©rrez, professor of chemistry and director of the MORE Programs, ÂSince some tumor cells express many more receptors for folate than normal cells, the targeting domains Brittany is building should allow us to concentrate diagnostic or therapeutic agents right on the cancer cells. Brittany has been a diligent and and insightful co-worker this past summer. I predict much success for her in a research career.Â
Last month, UlloaÂalong with 11 other community college students participating in the NIH-summer programÂpresented results from their research at the Summer Student Research Poster Presentation held at the La Kretz Lobby on the CSULA campus.
The event also included poster presentations by CSULA students in the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program and Project SEED.
Once Ulloa completes her bachelorÂs degree at CSULA, she is interested in obtaining an M.D./Ph.D. to pursue a career in research and medicine. ÂI want to combine the two and apply them in my work in either organic chemistry or immunology,Â she said.
Ulloa credits Professor GutiÃ©rrez for his support and guidance, saying, ÂHe is very student-oriented and a great mentor. He really makes scientific research exciting and tangible.Â
A fellow Bridges to the Future program participant, Ephraim Morado will also transfer to CSULA this fall to pursue a bachelorÂs degree in organic chemistry. His research is titled ÂThe Synthesis of Mixed-bridge Diquinoxaline Baskets.Â
ÂBasically weÂre making Resorcin(4)arene-based molecular capsules and baskets that can potentially act as a transportation system for foreign molecules,Â explained Morado, who currently attends Glendale Community College. ÂThrough CSULAÂs support programs, IÂm hoping to achieve a Ph.D. in chemistry and become a college professor someday.Â
- Bridges to the Future Program at CSULA:
- MORE Programs at CSULA:
- National Institutes of Health:
- Honors College at CSULA:
- Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at CSULA:
- College of Natural and Social Sciences at CSULA: