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Clarkson University Doctoral Students to Present Research on Protein Biomarkers for Cancer, Autism at Conference

Two Clarkson University chemistry doctoral students have been invited to present at the Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition in November.

Devika Channaveerappa, Costel Darie, Kelly WormwoodDevika Channaveerappa of Bangalore, India, and Kelly Wormwood of Lowville, N.Y., will travel to the annual symposium in Somerset, N.J., to deliver oral presentations in the technical session on bioanalysis and biomarker discovery. This is the second year presenting at the Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition for both students, who work with Associate Professor of Chemistry & Biomolecular Science Costel Darie.

Channaveerappa will present her project "Proteomics Study to Identify the Protein Differences in Human Breast Milk from Cancer Patients and Controls Using Mass Spectrometry." This project is in collaboration with Professor of Environmental Toxicology Kathleen Arcaro of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.  

Her research analyzes breast milk samples from women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and women who have not been diagnosed using gel electrophoresis to determine if certain proteins are indicators of breast cancer. The researchers extracted the samples from the gel and then used mass spectrometry to study the chemistry and see which proteins were overexpressed or underexpressed.

Channaveerappa said dense breast tissue in young women is hard to diagnose using mammography, so a protein biomarker could help women determine their risk for breast cancer.

"We are trying to figure out if any of the proteins in breast milk could be a potential biomarker to see if they will get breast cancer in the future," she said.

Channaveerappa now is researching a protein called JTB, which has been found to be overexpressed in some cancers.

Wormwood, who is also studying proteins, will present her project "Mass Spectrometry-Based Protein Biomarker Discovery in Neurodevelopmental Disorders." This project is in collaboration with Alisa G. Woods, a researcher at both Clarkson University and the SUNY Plattsburgh Center for Neurobehavioral Health.

Her research focuses on protein biomarkers for neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders and Smith-Lemli-Optiz syndrome, which is caused by a deficient cholesterol production. Wormwood said autism spectrum disorders are diagnosed only behaviorally now, and a protein biomarker test would improve the accuracy of diagnosis.

Wormwood, an Academic Success Program to Improve Retention and Education (ASPIRE) scholar,  said she is now focusing on the issue of gender difference in autism spectrum disorders, with boys affected four times as much as girls. She said past studies have identified potential protein biomarkers that might provide answers.

"My next project is looking at the proteomic side of that difference between boys and girls, and hopefully that will shed some light as to why girls are less affected by autism spectrum disorders," she said.

Two more students from Darie’s group, Roshanak Aslebagh, a chemistry doctoral student of Tehran, Iran, and Cassia Chapman '16, a biology undergraduate student of Central Square, N.Y., will present their work at the Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition as a poster presentation.  

The Eastern Analytical Symposium and Exposition (EAS) is held each year to provide professional scientists and students continuing education in the analytical and allied sciences through the presentation of symposia of papers, workshops, and short courses.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: From left to right, chemistry doctoral student Devika Channaveerappa, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biomolecular Science Costel C. Darie, and chemistry doctoral student Kelly Wormwood research protein biomarkers at Clarkson University.

[A photograph for media use is available at .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or]

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