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Westminster College Biology Majors Receive Drinko Research Grants

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Posted on Friday, October 19, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College senior biology majors Melanie Perello and Amy Steinheiser received undergraduate research grants from Westminster's Drinko Center for Experiential Learning.

Perello's project, "The Behavior of Silver Nanoparticles in a Freshwater Tritrophic System," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Ann Throckmorton, Westminster professor of biology. Perello is evaluating the ecological effects of silver nanoparticle pollution on aquatic environments by assessing the impacts of nanoparticle exposure by both the surrounding environment and through diet on a three-level food chain.

Perello is a daughter of Michael and Maria Perello of Poland, Ohio, and a graduate of Ohio Distance and Electronic Learning Academy.

Contact Throckmorton at (724) 946-7209 or email for additional information. 

Steinheiser's project, "The Effect of Camptothecin on Nuclear RanGTP Levels in HeLa Cells," is conducted under the supervision of Dr. Karen Resendes, Westminster assistant professor of biology. Steinheiser is treating HeLa cells with a chemotherapeutic drug that induces apoptosis (programmed cell death) and then monitoring nuclear transport into and out of the nucleus by analyzing the localization of a small protein called Ran. She is trying to determine how long it takes for the drug to disrupt nuclear transport mechanisms before it destroys/deregulates the nucleus as a whole.

Steinheiser will present her research at the annual meeting of the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) taking place April 20-24 in Boston.

Steinheiser is a daughter of Larry and Donna Steinheiser and a graduate of Butler Area High School.

Contact Resendes at (724) 946-7211 or email for additional information. 

The Drinko Center for Experiential Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences. 

Visit for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.