The New Mexico Consortium (NMC) is pleased to announce three of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Student Poster Award winners are NMC summer student researchers doing their work at the NMC Biological Laboratory and Greenhouse. These posters were presented at the LANL2018 Student Symposium.
Sara Lamcaj and Jenna Schambach both work in biofuels research and won awards for their poster titled, “Investigating the Lingocellulosic Degradation Activity of Auxenochlorella protothecoides.” They work with Dr. Amanda Barry on a freshwater strain of algae, Auxenochlorella protothecoides (A.p) to investigate the potential glycosyl hydrolases responsible for the degradation of cellulose. A.p has been shown to utilize plant substrate to increase algal biomass which can be used as an advantage for the production of biofuels from algae.
Sara Lamcaj is from Lodi, New Jersey, and graduated from Seton Hall University with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in May 2018. She currently is a summer post-baccalaureate intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
She plans on attending graduate school in order to continue pursuing a rewarding career in research. Jenna Schambach graduated from the University of Delaware with a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences in May 2015, and a Master of Science in Marine Biosciences in December 2017. She has been working as a Post-Master’s Research Assistant for Dr. Amanda Barry since January of 2018 in the Bioenergy and Biome Sciences group of the Bioscience Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Jenna states, “The NMC Biolab has not only provided the equipment and supplies necessary for our group to do our research, but the communal laboratory layout fosters an environment conducive for learning as well as a unique experience working alongside biotechnology startup companies.”
Irene Kwon, in the biosciences division, also won an award for her poster titled, “Enhancing Monooxygenase Efficiency for the Production of Polymer Precursors Using ‘Smart’ Microbial Cell Technology.”
Irene Kwon is a sophomore at Rice University in Houston, Texas, working toward a bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering. She has been working as a summer intern at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Bioenergy and Biome Sciences under Dr. Taraka Dale since her senior year of high school. During high school, I worked with algae and algal biofuel research. This summer, she shifted her focus to a project involving the production of plastic precursors, specifically muconate, in the field of biomanufacturing. Irene wanted to say, “Thank you to the New Mexico Consortium for the facilities, equipment, and especially, staff who have always offered their help and time throughout my internship.”Congratulations to Sara, Jenna and Irene! The NMC is proud of the high quality and excellent work of our student researchers.