Bard College Faculty Member Swapan Jain Awarded Grant For Research in Chemistry
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.––Swapan Jain, Bard College Assistant Professor of Chemistry, has been awarded a Single-Investigator Cottrell College Science Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). Jain’s project, Synthesis of Novel Purine Analogs and Evaluation of their Binding to Xanthine Phosphoribosyl Transferase (XPT) riboswitch mRNA, aims to design and synthesize purine analogs (pharmaceutical molecules) and determine their binding strength to xpt mRNA (messenger RNA molecules). RNA, like DNA, is essential genetic material in living organisms because it plays a vital role in protein formation. Highly structured RNA molecules present excellent targets for new classes of antibiotics. Jain will receive $35,000 in support of his research.
“Over the last few decades, bacterial resistance to antibiotics has become a major problem,” says Jain. “This is partly because we have focused our attention on proteins as drug targets, whereas nucleic acids (such as RNA) have been largely ignored. New drug molecules that can bind to xpt mRNA tightly and inhibit bacterial growth can have great potential as pharmaceutical agents in the fight against bacterial infections.”
Jain’s project involves undergraduate research assistants. Three Bard students—Coral Liu, Sheneil Black, and Weiqing Wang—have been working on this project in Jain’s lab, which is located in the Gabrielle H. Reem and Herbert J. Kayden Center for Science and Computation at Bard College. Having each completed at least one full year of organic chemistry and introductory biology lab courses, these students are getting trained in a variety of useful techniques such as HPLC, NMR, LC/MS, gel electrophoresis, UV/Vis spectroscopy, and common molecular biology lab protocols through their work with Jain. All undergraduates in Jain’s lab are also trained to work with radioisotopes. The training will serve as a valuable tool for these students in the future due to the importance of radioisotopes in biochemistry and medicine.
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