Satvika Uppu, Dr. Michelle Claville to present on Capitol Hill

Satvika Uppu, who did undergraduate research while a transfer student at Southern University, has been chosen to present her research on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on April 24 at the “Posters on the Hill” Conference.


She will present with Dr. Michelle O. Fletcher Claville, who was a professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at the time the research was conducted. Their paper is titled “A New Use for an Old Method: Nitrite Determination by the Ferrous Oxidation-Xylenol Orange (FOX) Assay.”


They were chosen for the presentation by the Council for Undergraduate Research.  Their poster is one of 74 selected out of 850 applications.


Dr. Claville, now at Hampton University in Hampton, Va., said the results of the work will be beneficial to numerous scientific inquiries, including DNA damage and effects of gamma irradiation on food substances.


The project investigates various methods of chemical oxidation of peptides that contain methionine, and subsequent reactions that may occur as a result of that oxidation.  Methionine is an essential amino acid that cannot be synthesized in the body, but is a building block that helps the body manufacture protein.  


Uppu and Dr. Claville hypothesize that the chemical, single-electron, oxidation of these methionine-containing peptides may produce reactive intermediates know as distonic radicals that may lead to unusual side reactions.  


By investigating the chemical oxidation reactions, they hope to get insight into the possible effects of ionizing irradiation (e.g. gamma irradiation) on peptide, and protein substrates.


Not only will Uppu and Dr. Claville present their work alongside researchers from across the country, but they will have the opportunity to discuss their work with U.S. senators and representatives from the states of Virginia and Louisiana.


The research was conducted last summer at Southern in the Dr. Claville’s laboratory. The project was funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER award that Dr. Claville received in 2009. Uppu’s father, Dr. Rao Uppu had been collaboration with Dr. Claville on the project since its beginning.


Satvika Uppu is an undergraduate student at LSU, but conducted the research for the poster after transferring to Southern during the summer of 2011.

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