Featured Faces of Wake Downtown

Noah Handwerk, ’21

Major: Engineering
Minor: Statistics
Research Mentor: Dr. Lauren Lowman
Research Interests: For the past year I have been investigating the relationship and interplay between flash-droughts and vegetation growth in the United States. To do so, I have been gathering and organizing NASA satellite and local ground sensor data to help improve a model developed by Dr. Lowman.
Favorite thing about Wake Downtown: Being able to take classes downtown three to four times a week allows me to escape from the main campus. I can focus on a field of study I find fascinating with people who share this same excitement in engineering while still being interested in different sub-fields.

Meghan Pressimone, ’21

Major: Chemistry
Minors: Spanish and Studio Art
Research Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Alexander
Research Interests: My project in the Alexander lab in collaboration with Dr. Tom Hollis primarily serves to crystallize and obtain the protein structure Mycoplasma penetrans methionyl tRNA-synthetase, a bifunctional bacterial enzyme that the Alexander lab has worked with for a few years. We know a bit about the enzyme capability, but hope to finish off our exploration with an understanding of substrate delivery, which is where crystallography comes into play.
Favorite thing about Wake Downtown: I love the access that Wake Downtown gives to the downtown area of Winston-Salem. Being on campus can be great, but I love to take a break at Downtown and enjoy the proximity to all the amazing restaurants and cafes in the city.

Dr. Gloria Muday

Hometown: College Park, Maryland

Position: Coordinator of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, and Director of the Center for Molecular Signaling, as well as a Professor in Biology.

Research Focus: My laboratory is interested in the controls of plant growth and development. We study specialized plant metabolites, including anthocyanins that are purple pigments and their precursors, called flavonols. Flavonols and anthocyanins are potent antioxidants within the plant that defend plants from reactive oxygen species, which can be damaging and produce a stress response.  Flavonols and anthocyanins also having beneficial health effects for humans who eat them, since they can act as antioxidants to protect us from oxidative stress. Continue Reading Here!