Biology major presents at Capitol

By Kristin Riegel

On Feb. 14, David Chrastek ‘07 represented Macalester at the fourth annual Private College Scholars at the Capitol (PCSAC) event. Chrastek presented his research project to Minnesota legislators and government officials.

“My project focused on ribonuclease inhibitors, a protein only found inside the cell,” Chrastek said. “The goal of my research was to try and find a way for [ribonuclease inhibitors] to function outside of the cell.”

Chrastek worked with Anna Krawisz ’07, Grace Wilson ’07 and Kaitlin Shortridge ’07. He said his hope is that their research will be helpful in future experiments and research in which ribonucleic acid (RNA) is used. If ribonuclease inhibitors are able to survive outside of the cell, scientists will be able to study RNA in a wider variety of environments, he said.

Chrastek has been working with ribonuclease inhibitors under the advisement of biology professor Dr. Kim Dickson since end of last May.
“I was a little uncomfortable in lab before, but now when I go into a lab I know exactly what I am supposed to do,” Chrastek said. “The research gave me more confidence in myself as a bio major.”

The PCSAC event is intended to provide students with the chance to celebrate and share information about individual research projects with Minnesota legislators and government officials. According to the PCSAC website, colleges work with an on-campus contact to choose a research project and student to represent the college.
This year, 40 students from private colleges all across Minnesota presented 25 posters focusing on a wide array of topics.

Research projects ranged from “The Impact of Multiple Lineup Identification Attempts on Eyewitness Accuracy” to the “Ageing’s effects on heart rate and heart arrhythmia in Drosophila melanogaster.”