William & Mary

Patrick Christian '17 Presents Research at Europhosphatase 2017

After two years and a summer working in Professor Shantá Hinton's biology research lab, Patrick Christian '17 is no stranger to the substance MK-STYX and how it can be used in the laboratory to illuminate processes at the cellular level.

Patrick's work has contributed to understanding how MK-STYX may play an important role in regulating critical cellular pathways such as the stress response. His research formed the basis for his 2017 department Honors thesis, "Beyond 'self-eating': The Role of the Pseudophosphatase MK-STYX in Regulating Autophagy."At a poster session at the conference, Patrick Christian '17 presents his work to Prof. Nicholas Tonks, a pioneering researcher who characterized the first protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) in 1988.

This summer, with their travel supported by the Arts & Sciences Annual Fund, he accompanied Professor Hinton to the high-level conference Europhosphatase 2017, in Paris. There he was the only undergraduate student presenting at one of two poster sessions.

"After his presentation, colleagues from universities such as Stanford and McGill made a point to tell me that they were very impressed with his research and his command of his project," said Professor Hinton.

Posters sessions are a mainstay of scientific conferences, allowing researchers to explain their work informally and seek feedback and insight from peer scientists.

"The conference was incredibly important for my advancement as a scientist," Patrick noted. "My poster and presentation of my data received high praise from leaders in my field."The 2016-17 laboratory team: Yuming Cao '17, Andrew Mattei '18, Arya Dahal '17, Professor Hinton, Veronica (Roni) Nagle '16, Patrick Christian '17, and Adom Whitaker '17.

"I was [also] able to communicate and meet with a scientist from outside academia. I plan on going on to industry, so hearing the perspective of industry from someone inside was incredibly beneficial."

Patrick will pursue a Ph.D. at the University of California at Santa Cruz in September 2017.