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Lackey and alumni publish biochemistry research

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Posted on Friday, September 29, 2023

An article penned by two alumni and a professor from Westminster College’s biochemistry program has been published in RNA Biology, a leading peer-reviewed scientific journal in the field of ribonucleic acid research.

Written by Morgan Shine ’21, Sarah Harris ’19 and Dr. Patrick Lackey, associate professor of chemistry, “Uridylation of the Histone mRNA stem-loop weakens binding interactions with SLBP while maintaining interactions with 3’hExo” is based on research completed by Shine and Harris while undergraduates at Westminster.

The paper is largely based on the work that Shine—the first author on the paper—conducted for her honors thesis. Shine continued working on the paper after her Westminster graduation to ensure its publication.

Shine is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Yale University’s Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry. She is originally from Greenville, Pa., and a graduate of Reynolds High School.

Preliminary data collected by Harris, the second author, set the foundations for the paper. While her data collection was conducted for her honors thesis, Harris also continued to work on the paper after graduating from Westminster and contributed a key figure during the revision process.

Harris, originally from Hermitage, Pa., and a graduate of Hickory High School, is currently working toward her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.

Both Shine and Harris received funding from the Westminster College Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research to conduct their research while students at Westminster.

Lackey, the paper’s corresponding author, served as the research mentor to both Shine and Harris. Lackey, who joined the Westminster faculty in 2016, teaches Principles of Biochemistry, Metabolic Biochemistry and Biochemical Methods in addition to first-year chemistry courses. He earned his undergraduate from Duquesne University and his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from UNC-CH.

Their article can be read here:
To learn more about Westminster’s biochemistry program, please visit

Pictured above from left, Dr. Patrick Lackey, Morgan Shine and Sarah Harris