Butler senior Hitesh Dube won first place in an undergraduate poster session at the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) meeting in San Francisco.
In besting a field of nearly 100 undergraduates, which included students from across the country and around the world, Dube won $500 and will have his picture in next month’s ASCB newsletter.
Dube, along with labmate and senior biology major Amy Wasilk, attended the meeting in December with their research advisor, Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Kowalski. Both students presented posters on their research during the main conference session, in addition to competing in the undergraduate poster session.
“Both Amy and Hitesh have worked in my lab for nearly 3½ years, and I am so proud of the work that both of these students have done,” Kowalski said.
Dube’s poster showcased work he and Kowalski have been doing in collaboration with scientists from Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts. They are investigating the mechanisms by which an enzyme called the APC controls neuromuscular signaling in microscopic roundworms, known as C. elegans.
Wasilk’s poster described studies she and a former labmate have done to begin characterizing the role of one potential APC target protein in neurons, a receptor called FSHR-1. As the nervous system of C. elegans is similar to that of humans, the overall goal of Kowalsk and her students’ investigations is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.
The goal of the work is to use the worms as a model to better understand general nervous system function.
Dube’s contributions to the project involved developing and performing a number of experiments with these roundworms. In many of these experiments, he compared the nervous systems of normal worms to those of genetic mutants lacking the function of the APC enzyme to determine the specific cell types (motor neurons or muscle cells) where the APC acts to affect neuromuscular signaling.
“The depth of Hitesh’s understanding and his ability to clearly explain his own experiments and those done by his labmates and other colleagues related to this project is truly remarkable for an undergraduate,” Kowalski said. “This is a fantastic accomplish for him, and I am so pleased that both students were able to present their work in this national forum.”