Senior Thesis Update: Saif Yasin

by Laura Archer, Staff Writer

Saif Yasin is a senior Molecular Biology and Biochemistry major.

Thesis topic and title: “My topic is about creating small molecular models to understand biological mechanisms, specifically relating to our genetic material. It is entitled: Kinetic and Computational Analysis of phosphorothioate and phosphorodithioate substitutions in metal ion catalyzed cleavage of RNA models.”

How did you get interested in this/find your topic?: “I have been conducting research on this topic since the beginning of the freshman year. I have spent all 8 semesters and 3 summers working on conducting experiments and designing the questions I wanted to ask.”

What sort of research did you need to do for this? Did you apply for any grants?: “My research involved conducted several reactions in the lab and learning a computer program to also conduct theoretical calculations. In order to fund for the work I applied and was given a grant by the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.”

What has been your favorite part so far?: My favorite part has been the independence. The faculty keep stressing that this project is in fact mine, and no-one else’s. I have been able to make decisions about what to include, how to interpret data, and have made my own unique arguments.

What did you not expect to be as challenging as it turned out to be?: “I never thought that keeping the thesis short would be my largest struggle. I thought that the thesis is such a long endeavor that I would never get to the point of writing too much. it was particularly difficult to choose which parts to include and how to optimize the organization of the thesis.”

Who/what has been instrumental in your process thus far?: “My advisor, Dr. Adam Cassano, and the rest of my committee, Dr. Ryan Hinrichs and Dr. Minjoon Kouh, have been instrumental in advising me through the process. Also, the entire chemistry department never stopped supporting me through my research and always had their doors open for discussions.”
Do you plan on submitting your thesis (either chapters or in full) to journals (like the Drew Review) or present it at a conference?: “Fortunately, I have had the opportunity to already present this research at several conferences including an American Chemical Society National Meeting. After completing my thesis my advisor and I are looking forward to preparing part of it for publication in an academic journal outside of Drew.”

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