Three Harker alumni were featured speakers at this year’s research symposium, “Technology for Life.” Jennifer Ong ’07, a junior at U.C. San Diego, is pursuing biology and communications majors. Richard Kwant ’07 is studying chemistry and physics at Harvard University, and Brian Ma ’08 is a bioengineering major at the California Institute of Technology.
Ong spoke about her new role as chief operations officer for The Triple Helix (TTH), a nonprofit, studentrun organization that publishes undergraduate articles in print and on their website. Founded by Kevin Hwang ’03, its mission, said Ong, “is to allow students the opportunity to voice ideas about the interdisciplinary nature of science, society and law.”
Speaking via teleconference from Harvard, Kwant presented his work on protein structures and interactions. He was able to create crystalline structures of the protein human carbonic anhydrase II, which provide researchers with an atomic level view of what is happening in the protein. “This research will be helpful for biology and medicine in understanding how proteins work and how human biology works,” Kwant said.
Begun as a summer research project at CalTech, Ma’s work seeks to unravel the mystery of how plants, unlike animals, can regenerate. Ma screened epigenetic-related genes to determine if they are involved in the regeneration process.
“Being the first to discover new knowledge is definitely one allure of going into the research field, whether as an undergraduate or afterwards,” said Ma.
For the full report on alumni speakers at the Harker Research Symposium, go to news.harker.org and search on “Research Alumni.”