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Cañada Student to Present at Biomedical Research Conference

Dominic Lopez-Toney, a 2010 Sequoia High School graduate and current Cañada student, has been chosen to present at the 2012 Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students to be held Wednesday, Nov. 7 in San Jose.

Dominic will present at this year's poster presentation. His presentation is titled "Fluorescence Analysis of α-Catenin Chimeras and an Overview of the Adherens Junctions."

This past summer, Dominic worked as a research intern in the Structural Biology Department at Stanford University under Professor William Weis. It was there that he began researching how epithelial cells react to the introduction of tension.

"The goal of our lab was to analyze the structure of various proteins associated in tension regulated responses at cell-cell contacts," he said. "The protein that my lab supervisor and I worked most closely was a-catenin."

Dominic said a cell’s ability to sense and react to various stresses created from both intracellular and extracellular interactions is vital to maintaining proper morphogenesis and cell differentiation including basic organ formation and tissue repair. Errors in these processes contribute to the formation of various diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. "It was the goal of my lab, as well as other associated labs, to understand how cells react to stress at cell-cell junctions in order to maintain a stable and uniform overall structure," he said.

Dominic is currently in his fifth semester at Cañada. he is a Molecular and Cellular Biology major. "I am hoping to transfer next fall and I am applying to several schools including UC Davis, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Berkeley."

His career goal is obtain either a PhD in one of the biological sciences and pursue a career in research, or to go on to medical school to pursue a career as a sports doctor or surgeon.

Dominic said he decided to attend Cañada because of the schools reputation for academic excellence and its proximity to his home.

"This will be the first biomedical research conference where I have presented but, as part of the program that sponsored my internship, I will be presenting another poster in a conference in Washington D.C. with other Cañada students who participated in the program."

Another former Cañada student, Mayra Rios, will also be presenting at the San Jose conference. Rios will present a poster titled “Examining the Effect of Mechanical Strain on Epithelial Cell-Cell Adhesion.”


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