Mount student’s research may aid in treating human illness
February 17, 2017
NEWBURGH, N.Y. -
Jacqueline Copeland of Newburgh, N.Y., a Mount Saint Mary
College biology/pre-med student, discussed healing human disease
through the study of baker’s yeast.
According to Jacqueline Copeland of Newburgh, N.Y., a Mount
Saint Mary College biology/pre-med student, the key to curing
illnesses like cancer, spinal muscular atrophy, and cystic fibrosis
may lie in an unlikely place: baker’s yeast.
Copeland explained the most recent results of her research,
“Identification of Generic Interactions Associated with Prp5 Using
S. Cerevisiae as a Model,” during a public talk on February 16.
Her study of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, better known as baker’s
yeast, could one day be used to better diagnose and treat human
“Hopefully if we learn more about this protein in yeast, we can
translate that knowledge to humans,” Copeland explained. “About 85
percent of their splicing genome is homologous to ours.”
So far, Copeland has identified one interaction with the MMO1
gene, whose function is currently unknown. She intendeds to
continue her research as she completes her Mount education.
“Ultimately, the goal is to find more of those genes that are
interacting, and find out how these genes are all effecting
splicing,” she explained. “It’s on a small scale right now, but we
have to have these small discoveries to have the bigger picture
Copeland carried out her research with the aid of Evan
Merkhofer, assistant biology professor at the Mount.
In April 2016, Copeland was awarded “Outstanding Poster
Presentation” and “Excellence in Innovation Research” for her
genome research at the 70th annual Eastern Colleges Science
Conference (ECSC) at Western New England University in Springfield,
The talk was part of the Mount’s Investigating Research on
Campus (iROC) series. The goal of iROC is to “provide a forum for
Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research
endeavors with both Mount Saint Mary College and the local
community in a manner easily understood by attendees,” explained
series coordinators Merkhofer and Jennifer Park, assistant
librarian for access and outreach services. Presentations include
research proposals, initial data collection, and completed research