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Phillip Thomas

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Contact Information
Email: Pathoma1@aggies.ncat.edu

North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, North Carolina 27411
Junior Undergraduate Student
Major: Biology




Presentations

Name of Conference
Location of Conference
Month and Year of Conference (e.g. May 2008)
Emory STEM day/ Symposium
Atlanta , Georgia
Apr-13
Beta Kappa Chi
Reston, Virginia
Mar-13
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
San Jose, California
Nov-12
Leadership Alliance National Symposium
Hartford, Connecticut
Jul-12
Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
St. Louis, Missouri
Nov-11
State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research Creativity Symposium
East Carolina University
Nov-11
North Carolina Alliance to Create Opportunity through Education (NC OPT-ED
NC State University
Oct-11
North Carolina LSAMP/RISE joint research symposium
Fayetteville State University
Apr-11


Research


Screening for Novel Interactions between Chromatin Proteins and Histone Modifications

Co Authors
Romeo Papzyan
Tonya Gilbert
Sean D. Taverna

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD


Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences
Eukaryotic DNA is assembled into chromatin by interacting with nuclear proteins including histones. Chromatin exists in two structurally distinct forms that are epigenetically inherited; loosely packed regions (euchromatin) that permit transcription, and tightly packed regions (heterochromatin) that repress transcription. These structurally distinct forms of chromatin are regulated by post-translational modifications (PTMs) on histones, such as acetylation and methylation on lysine residues, which help to recruit specific chromatin-modifying proteins. While vastly different in their activities, these proteins contain conserved sub-domains that recognize specific histone PTMs. Most chromodomain-containing proteins are correlated with heterochromatin and strongly bind to histone PTMs that are associated with transcriptional silencing. For example, chromodomains that bind methylation on histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) are associated with constitutive heterochromatin, while chromodomains that bind H3K27 methylation are associated with facultative heterochromatin. The objective of this study was to characterize three heterochromatin-associated proteins (HP1, Pdd1p, and Pdd3p) and their binding differences for peptides marked by combinations of three heterochromatin-associated histone PTMs(H3K9me3, H3K23me3, and H3K27me3). In particular, we focused on studying how each of these proteins bind to H3K23me3, a novel heterochromatin-associated modification often found next to H3K27methylation. HP1, a known H3K9me3 binder, was observed to bind in a weak fashion to H3K23me3. While another H3K9me3 binder, Pdd3p, did not bind to H3K23me3. These results suggest that the binding pockets within the chromo-domains of Pdd3p and HP1 are structurally similar but not identical. Pdd1p, a strong H3K27me3 binder, did not bind to H3K23me3 which is only four amino acids away suggesting it is highly specific for H3K27me3. These studies will reveal greater insight into the function of each heterochromatin-associated protein and may provide a better understanding of gene regulation at a molecular level.

The Dynamics of CO Mediated Sickle Cell Polymer Melting

Co Authors
Liping Liu

North Carolina A&T, Greensboro, NC

Mathematics
Sickle cell anemia is a blood disorder caused by a mutation in DNA that replaces the nucleic acid Glutamic with Valine. This replacement causes a change in the characteristics of hemoglobin that allows the monomers, to stick together. The malformed cells do not efficiently pass through capillaries or transport oxygen to the body’s tissues. The process of breaking polymers apart is called melting. In the referenced study, the melting was induced by immersing the polymers in a buffer solution containing carbon monoxide. From a previous experiment Carbon Monoxide having a similar chemical make to oxygen was found to be an effect method to aid in the process of polymer melting. This process was configured into a mathematical model that could effetely analyze the process. The dynamics of the system were evaluated through the use of numerical tools to create Graphical User Interface (GUI’S). The GUI’s gave further insight on the dynamics of the created system.

My current research interests include:
  • Oncology
  • Translational research
  • Stem cell
  • Epigenetics



Research Advisors


My advisor is Dr. Checo J. Rorie



Clubs and professional Organizations

Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society
Minority Access to Research Careers Program
Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students
The Integrative Biomathematics Learning and Engagement Network for Diversity (iBLEND)
Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society
North Carolina A&T Honors program

Current Developments


  • I will be participating in the annual biomedical research conference for minority students (ABRCMS) from November 7 to November 10, 2012.
  • I am currently working on studying how a novel PARP Inhibitor will affect triple negative breast cancer.
  • This summer I will have the pleasure of working with Dr. Gregory David at the NYU School of Medicine


Awards

Brief description of Award/Honor
Month and Year Award was Given (e.g., May 2008)
Type of Award
Travel Award
Apr-13
National Award/Scholarship Program (e.g., MARC, RISE, LSAMP, UNCF, MERCK, etc.)
Best Poster Poster presentation in Biology E category
Mar-13
National Award/Scholarship Program (e.g., MARC, RISE, LSAMP, UNCF, MERCK, etc.)
Best Poster Poster presentation in Physiology Discipline
Nov-12
National Award/Scholarship Program (e.g., MARC, RISE, LSAMP, UNCF, MERCK, etc.)