10:22 a.m., Nov. 2, 2011–Carissa Young, a post-doctoral student in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware, was honored for her work in cellular engineering at the 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) annual meeting in Minneapolis, Oct. 16-21.

Young, who is advised by Anne S. Robinson, professor of chemical engineering, focuses her research on evaluating cellular quality control mechanisms in a model organism by monitoring molecular interactions, protein trafficking, organelle dynamics and biogenesis.

These effects have profound implications in diverse scientific fields including cell physiology, disease pathology and heterologous protein expression.

“The primary goal of my research is to gain a mechanistic understanding of protein redistribution within the cell, specifically at the sub-organelle level,” Young explained. “This will help to elucidate specific quality control mechanisms in yeast, as well as determine specific protein trafficking effects and confirm their intracellular spatial localization.”

Young was awarded a Direct Travel Grant worth nearly $500 by the Company of Biologists’ Journal of Cell Science to give three lectures at this year’s AIChE conference. Her lectures included:

  • “The Missing Links: Elucidating Mechanisms of Heterologous GPCR Expression and Trafficking in S. cerevisiae;”
  • “The Exploitation of S. cerevisiae – Improved Understanding and Optimal Yields of Single-Chain Antibody Fragment (scFv) 4-4-20;” and
  • “Single-Cell Analysis of Cellular Quality Control in S. cerevisiae: How ‘Low’ Can You Go?”

Young’s work is interdisciplinary and includes collaborations between UD and the University of California, Santa Barbara’s departments of Chemical Engineering and Computer Science, as well as with researchers at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute(DBI).

She works with Kirk Czymmek, associate professor of biological sciences; Jeff Caplan, associate director of bio-imaging; Deborah Powell, bio-imaging research associate; and Shannon Modla, research associate, of DBI’s Bio-Imaging Center, who assist with advanced microscopy techniques, as well as post-doctoral peers Zack Britton and Ron Maurer on heterologous protein expression and trafficking.

Young received her bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering with a marketing minor from Georgia Institute of Technology in 2002. Prior to joining UD in 2004, she worked for Johnson & Johnson as an engineer, and taught middle and high school students while also employed as an adjunct professor at Georgia Military College.

Article by Gabriella Chiera

BiomedicalAIChE honors