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  • Alex Yarawsky
  • Robert Monsen

Graduate Students Sponsored to Attend AUC 2017

Oct 25 2017 Read 657 Times

Two United States graduates were sponsored by Beckman Coulter to attend AUC 2017, the 23rd International Analytical Ultracentrifugation Workshop and Symposium, which recently took place at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.

Alexander Yarawsky and Robert Monsen, graduate students at the University of Cincinnati and the University of Louisville (USA), studying under Dr. Andrew Herr and Dr. John Trent, respectively, were winners of a scholarship competition, also underwritten by the company, which solicited research papers featuring the use of AUC to analyse macromolecules in their native state. Alex and Robert were hand-selected by the AUC 2017 Selection Committee who also helped to organise the conference.

The focus of AUC 2017 was on solution studies of biological macromolecules, interacting systems, synthetic polymers, nanoparticles and colloids. Featured techniques included AUC and small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), among others.

The conference opened on July 23rd with a series of workshops given by leading experts on macromolecular research, including Helmut Cölfen from the University of Konstanz in Konstanz Germany, Borries Demeler, from the University of Texas in Austin, John Philo from Alliance Protein Laboratories in San Diego and Walter Stafford from the Harvard Medical School.

Following the workshops, starting on July 25th, a symposium was held that included a keynote lecture by Professor Stephen Harding from the University of Nottingham (UK), as well as two poster sessions, an exhibitor fair, and lively roundtable discussions by symposium presenters and attendees. As a participant in both the poster and oral presentation sessions, Yarawsky presented research on the potentially pathogenic microbe Staphylococcus epidermidis, which can cause serious infections in patients with catheters and is often resistant to antibiotics. Likewise, Monsen discussed his research on melanomas (skin cancers) and glioblastomas (brain cancers), in which he used analytical ultracentrifugation to directly observe and confirm ligand-quadruplex interactions.

“Attending AUC 2017 was an incredible experience,” Yarawsky said. “The workshops offered a unique chance to learn how to use different programs for analysis, and complementary modelling techniques—(directly) from the creators themselves. I enjoyed meeting so many other students and faculty from around the world and learning about the cutting-edge research being performed.”

Monsen was also enthusiastic in his assessment of the conference, particularly the opportunity to present his research and to gain valuable insights into work being done by others in the biochemical field.

“Like Alex, I attended a workshop on SEDANAL for analysing my centrifuge data,” Monsen said. “In addition, an introductory course to hydrodynamics gave me an opportunity to ask experts in the field how best to fit my experimental and calculated data. I’m sure this experience will positively impact the quality of my future research.”

To be sure, many of this year’s presentations and workshops focused on sharing information we know today and discussing how our current knowledge can lead to future discoveries.

“Veteran researchers have long been aware of the power of AUC,” said Beckman Coulter AUC Product Manager Dr. Chad Schwartz, who also presented at AUC 2017. “One goal of our scholarship competition this year was to shine a spotlight on the next generation of researchers, many of whom are ‘rediscovering’ the advantages of using AUC to thoroughly characterise macromolecules.

“We were proud to sponsor attendance for Alex and Robert at this year’s symposium,” he added, “because they embody the future—a future of research breakthroughs that can be achieved faster and more efficiently by using AUC.”

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