Ocho is an upcoming senior at Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. She joins the Merino group this summer to study reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Ocho describes her research as follows: I’m working in the Merino lab with Prasadini Senevirathne, who are doing research on reactive oxygen species (ROS) and NADPH oxidase (NOX). ROS, a signal molecule in cell metabolism, can be produced by NOX. While ROS is important in cellular processes, there are ROS inducible diseases such as melanoma (skin cancer) induced by UV light exposure and the production of ROS. We are working on compounds to prevent the binding of NOX subunits, therefore reducing levels of ROS production. Apocynin is a natural product that can help inhibit NOX and UVB-induced ROS formation. We are trying to re-engineer apocynin dimer, diapocynin, to optimize its function while also ensuring that it will not harm normal cells to use in sunscreen. This sunscreen will improve the protection against UV-rays and skin cancer.
Listen to her talk about her experience in this video