URSA Engage Program 2013
Position Descriptions for Students to Apply For


Faculty Name & Department/School: Dr. Kerry McPhail, Dept. Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy


Research Project Title: Natural Products Profiling of a Mixed Assemblage of Laboratory-Cultured Cyanobacteria: who makes what?


Project Overview: 

Coibamide is a chemical compound isolated from a Panamanian marine cyanobacterium, which possesses potent cancer cell toxicity. Significant quantities are needed for evaluation of coibamide as a potential cancer therapeutic at the National Cancer Institute, and to identify its cellular target in ongoing research at OSU. The chemical synthesis of coibamide has not yet been achieved, while recollection and laboratory cultivation of the cyanobacterium reveals that the cultures comprise three different cyanobacteria. The goal of this project is to identify which cyanobacterium is responsible for the production of coibamide, and which is responsible for a range of other characterized compounds.



What skills will students obtain in this project? 

Students will gain experience in practical organic chemistry, specifically in natural products isolation chemistry and column chromatography. They will also gain skills in the operation of analytical chemistry instruments and/or interpretation of analytical data generated for techniques such as High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC), Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LC-MS), and 1D NMR spectroscopy. Finally, they will have the opportunity to learn/practice basic microbiology skills, and design and execute simple biological assays if desired.


Student research tasks: 

Period of work - Spring and Fall


Number of hours per week expected of student:   6-8  


Preferred Faculty Contact Information: kerry.mcphail@oregonstate.edu

(note - applications are NOT sent to mentors - see instructions)


q Yes    x No:   Human Subjects 

q Yes    xNo:   Live Vertebrate Animals

q Yes    x  No:   Recombinant DNA Molecules Transgenic Plants or Animal, and/or Infectious Agents of Plants, Animals, or Humans

q Yes    x  No:   Ionizing Radiation

q Yes    x  No:   Chemical Carcinogens

q Yes    x  No:   Scuba Diving, Free Diving

q Yes    x  No:   Small Boating Operations


If you are interested in applying for this position, you MUST complete the student application HERE and email it to Dr. Kevin Ahern at ahernk@onid.orst.edu

Do NOT email your application to the faculty mentor.