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Cell mutation research sends Creighton undergrad to Madison Square Garden

Mar 6, 2022
3 min Read
Keely Orndorff

The microscopic world of protein interaction and its impact on which genes are expressed in the human cell is the subject of a research poster Keely Orndorff will present at New York City’s Madison Square Garden on March 12.

Along with four other Creighton University students, she’ll be part of the inaugural BIG EAST Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium, scheduled to run concurrently with the BIG EAST Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Orndorff, a neuroscience major at Creighton, says improper gene “silencing” within cells can lead to dangerous mutations. The goal, she says, is to better understand how proteins known as PCNA and CAF-1 interact.

“When the PCNA-CAF-1 interaction is disrupted, it can cause improper gene silencing and can lead to mutations, which are common features of many human cancers,” she says.

Much is still unknown about how they interact. In my project, I grow crystals of a PCNA-CAF-1 protein complex and use an X-ray to determine their interaction at the structural level.
— Keely Orndorff