Recent Elmira College graduate Emma Kelly '21 and Dr. Amy Lyndaker, Associate Professor of Biology, are excited to have their genetics research published in the journal e-Life. The paper, which includes the research of collaborators from the Dept. of Biomedical Sciences at Cornell University, was published on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

"It feels amazing to have my undergraduate research in a published journal," said Kelly. "I value how relevant this research is, the people I have met, and all the lessons I have learned."

Kelly, who is grateful for the guidance and encouragement she received from Lyndaker, said this experience taught her resilience. "I've learned that it's okay if something doesn't work out the first time. Try again, and keep trying," she said. "Eventually, you will reach success."

The paper includes Kelly's work from two semesters of independent research she did with Lyndaker as well as one summer in the Obler Summer Research program. It details the co-evolution of specific DNA repair proteins and other proteins essential to chromosome maintenance. This research paired well with the research their collaborators at Cornell completed related to chromosome analysis in mammals and could help progress research in the fields of cancer biology and fertility.

"As we learn more about how the 9-1-1 complexes work and which other proteins they interact with, we come closer to understanding why they are required for both normal cells and cancer cells to survive and also for mammals to reproduce," explained Lyndaker. "These fundamentals then lay the groundwork for possible development of targeted chemotherapies and fertility treatments in humans."

"I hope this research continues to expand," said Kelly. "I hope it's just a stepping stone to amazing genetic discoveries."

Kelly is now working at the University of Rochester and hopes to attend medical school in the summer of 2023.

The open-access article is available here:

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