18 Dec 2023

SSMAH Senior Peter Musenge Receives Recognition at ABRCMS 2023

Peter Musenge has received special recognition for his research. His project, entitled “Analysis of Whole Genome Datasets to Elucidate Global Cellular Responses to Environmental Stressors”, was conducted as a part of his capstone research at Saint Augustine’s University with Dr. Sarah Straud, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, serving as principal investigator of the study. Peter received notable recognition for his work at this year’s Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Students, winning a cash prize in the category of computational research.

“For our study, we took an interdisciplinary approach, combining computational and biological research. Our study required detailed statistical analysis, and we thank Dr. Maria Vega and Dr. Frank Hunte for their contributions to the work. In this study, Peter looked for changes in gene expression patterns in response to two different environmental stressors, heat shock and oxidative stress, in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Given that defects in protein folding, autophagy, and mitochondrial activity are implicated in neurodegenerative diseases, we reasoned that defects in common response genes might be implicated in Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Through this work, Peter identified two interesting genes. Of these, Hsp31 is a homolog of the DJ-1 protein in humans, which is implicated in the progression of Parkinson’s disease.”

Mr. Musenge earned his B.S. in Biological Sciences last Spring and earned his second degree in Engineering Mathematics this Fall 2023.

Conference registration fees for Mr. Musenge were paid by Dr. Sarah Straud.