Sandefur Lab to be Featured in UNC Pembroke News (2017)

Sandefur Lab Researchers
Dr. Conner Sandefur (standing) and his undergraduate research team

During the past year, Dr. Conner Sandefur has mentored a large team of undergraduate researchers in his lab.  Thanks to Mark Locklear, their research will soon be featured in UNCP in the News.  Mark and University photographer Willis Glassgow visited the lab to interview Dr. Sandefur and his student Cheyenne Lee and to photograph students in action.  Cheyenne is the recipient of an Exceptional Research Opportunity Program (EXROP) award that will enable her to conduct research at Yale University this summer.   The Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsors the prestigious EXROP program.

Mark Locklear and Conner Sandefur
Mark Locklear interviews Dr. Conner Sandefur

The Sandefur Lab is often the center of intensive investigation.  Several students are studying antimicrobial properties of Lumbee medicinal plants.  Among these students are Anthony Arrington, Frederick Feely II, Cheyenne Lee, Dakota Lee, and K’Yana McLean.  Last summer the students collected medicinal plants from the wild, and back in the laboratory, they isolated the plants’ DNA, and they designed primers and amplified the genes by using known plant sequences from the NIH genome database.  Ultimately, Dr. Sandefur aims to identify genome sequences that are responsible for the transcription of medicinal compounds.  Other students in his lab are using modeling programs to study biological mechanisms.  Lonzie Hedgepeth, for one, is modeling the gal induction system on eukaryotic transcription factors.

Lonzie Hedgepeth Cheyenne Lee, Frederick Feely, and Athony Arrington

Dr. Sandefur has mentored numerous other students in a variety of research projects, tapping into his own expertise in computer modeling and his advanced knowledge of molecular genetics and genomics. His students have presented their work in several venues, including the Pembroke Undergraduate Research and Creativity (PURC) symposium, the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) End-of-Summer Student Research Presentation, the annual meeting of the North Carolina Academy of Science (NCAS), and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS).  Several of his students are Fellows in the RISE Program.  Two of his earliest students, Ethan Sanford and Marcus Sherman, are now in Ph.D. programs at Cornell University and the University of Michigan, respectively.

K'Yana McLean Dakota Lee
Anthony ArringtonFrederick Feely II

Dr. Sandefur joined the Biology faculty in the fall of 2015, after completing a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Seeding Postdoctoral Innovators in Research and Education (SPIRE) program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  When not in the research lab, he is busy teaching genetics and microbiology, facilitating the Critical Analysis of Scientific Literature club, promoting community causes, and spending time with family and friends.  You can learn more about his research interests by visiting his website.

Web manager's postscript: click here to read the UNCP in the News article.

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