PULLMAN, Wash. – Chemical engineering PhD student Kevin Gray is headed to Japan in November to do a fellowship at a prestigious international school.
Gray will work under Dr. Fadel Samatey, a collaborator with Gray’s advisor Dr. Alla Kostyukova, at The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University for four months. Samatey will give him training in protein crystallography and X-ray Diffraction.
“I am extremely fortunate to be working with Professor Kostyukova. She has a wide breadth of research techniques, and it is because of her connections that I even applied for this fellowship,” he said.
Currently he is preparing the Tropomodulin-2 (Tmod2) protein samples that are part of his graduate research to take with him to Japan. Tmod2 is a protein expressed in brain tissue. Altered amounts of the protein appear after strokes, after methamphetamine exposure and in Down’s Syndrome.
In addition to learning the crystallization process, he hopes to crystallize his protein samples and then gather structural data using X-ray Diffraction.
“We are currently doing fundamental science to better understand the protein,” he said. “Once we better understand it, that information may be used later down the road to suggest targeting Tmod2 regulation which could alleviate symptoms in conditions such as Down’s Syndrome,” he said. Originally from North Carolina, Gray grew up in Redmond, Wash. He earned his undergraduate degree at The Georgia Institute of Technology.
“While I am excited to continue my research and learn new techniques, I’m also looking forward to being somewhere new and meeting new people,” he said.