"I even traveled to the American Society of Cell Biology conference in Philadelphia to present a poster on our research."

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Class of 2012 update: After graduation, Sarah will begin a doctoral program in molecular and cell biology at Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md.

"I do cytogenetics research with Assistant Professor of Biology Le Paliulis. I work with milkweed bugs. They have holocentric chromosomes that differ from telocentric chromosomes, which is what humans have. Telocentric chromosomes have a really small kinetochore. Holocentric chromosomes have a kinetochore that lasts the entire chromosome.

"I've been taking time-lapse photography of chromosomes going through mitosis and meiosis — basically cell division — measuring how long it takes holocentric chromosomes to completely separate as opposed to telocentric. We are analyzing the pictures to see how the kinetochore separates, if it's like a zipper or if it centers out.

"We're trying to determine if the separation is different or the same in holocentric and telocentric chromosomes. Missegregation of chromosomes in any organism causes mutations, problems, diseases. The more we can classify and understand any chromosome division, the more we will know. Holocentric chromosomes are easier to work with. We're hoping we can apply what we learn about them to telocentric chromosomes. I even traveled to the American Society of Cell Biology conference in Philadelphia to present a poster on our research."

Sarah is from Denver, Colo.

Posted April 7, 2011
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