Shannon CookGraduated May 2006 | Major: Chemistry and Biochemistry
"I have participated in undergraduate research in Dr. Sridhar Varadarajan's lab in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for several semesters now, first as a BS (Biology) student, and now as a BA (Chemistry) student. The research I have been conducting is to determine and quantify the different kinds of DNA damage caused by specific DNA-modifying compounds being made in our lab. My goal is to use analytical methods to find out how selective these compounds are in the kind of damage they inflict on DNA. I use high performance liquid chromatography method along with UV-VIS and electrochemical detection to determine the amount of damage, and the kind of damage that results from exposing genomic DNA to the compounds made in our lab. In a second project, I am making DNA-binding compounds containing a fluorescent tag in order to use fluorescence as an indicator of the strength of DNA binding for various compounds. This research opportunity has given me experience in organic synthesis, chemistry of DNA, and several analytical techniques, which will prove beneficial in my goal of pursuing a doctoral program in forensic chemistry. I also received the UNCW Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award in 2004 for this research. One of the most inspiring and rewarding experiences I have had was when I got to present my research at the Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society, where I got to talk about my project with students and scientists outside UNCW."