Supervisor's Name: Dr. Robert Murgita
Supervisor's Email: Robert.Murgita [at] mcgill.ca
Supervisor's department: Microbiology and Immunology
Course number: MIMM 397 (Immunology)
Term: Winter 2013-2014
Project start date: Monday, January 6, 2014
Project end date: Friday, April 11, 2014
Project title: High-resolution homology modeling of hAFP: Structural assessment and investigation of clinical significance.
Project description (50-100 words suggested): hAFP is a protein of high clinical significance, implicated as bio-marker and possible sensitizing agent to hepatocellular carcinomas amongst others. In order to further investigate the function of hAFP and potential to be used as a therapeutic, a high-resolution structure is desirable. However, current attempts at crystallization have not been successful. During this project the student will use computational techniques to assess and optimize a template based homology model of hAFP to a high level of resolution and accuracy. Small (10-15AA) peptides have previously been identified within hAFP, which have been shown to sensitize T-cells to hepatocellular carcinoma. These active regions were identified without the knowledge of the 3D structure. The student will have the opportunity to further map the active peptides on the 3D structure to determine whether there is a contiguous site. If so, this would lead to the possibility of creating more efficient peptidomimetic encompassing the entire active region of the anti-tumor function.
Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.
Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): Final grade shall be based on laboratory performance as evaluated by the research supervisor (50%) and the final written research report (minimum 10 pages) graded by the supervisor and the course coordinator or the coordinator's delegate (50%).
Project status: This project is taken.
How students can apply / Next steps: For MIMM: After all parts of this application form are completed, and the hard copy is signed by the professor and the student, bring this application form and your unofficial transcript to Prof. Gregory Marczynski during office hours, who will review/approve as the course coordinator for MIMM 396 (Microbiology) or MIMM 397 (Immunology).
Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: NEITHER animal subjects, nor human subjects, nor biohazardous substances, nor radioactive materials, nor handling chemicals, nor using lasers.