Student Name: Alan N. Amin
Supervisor: Dr. Hue Sun Chan, Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto.
Alan graduated with an Honours Bachelor of Science in the Spring of 2018 with a specialist in biochemistry and a major in mathematics. On the way, he acted as a teaching assistant of four math classes starting in his second year and won numerous awards, including the University of Toronto Dean’s List and multiple awards from Innis College.
In addition to Alan’s work in classes, he has had extensive undergraduate research experience beginning the summer after his first year working in the laboratory of Dr. Ronald Kluger (University of Toronto) developing a method by which to synthetically aminoacylate tRNA. During the summer after his second year, Alan joined Dr. Molly Shoichet’s laboratory (University of Toronto) with an NSERC USRA, where he developed biomaterials to be used in retinal stem cell transplantation. In the summer between his third and fourth years, he worked in Dr. Clifford Brangwynne’s laboratory at Princeton University where he probed the physical properties of nuclear membraneless organelles.
During his third and fourth years he gained his most extensive research experience in the laboratory of Dr. Hue Sun Chan at the University of Toronto. His efforts were focused on intrinsically disordered protein (IDPs), which in recent years have become recognized for their critical roles in the formation and function of membraneless organelles. His project sought to understand how IDPs interact with one another. His primary goal in the Chan lab was to use statistical mechanical tools to develop a model to study dynamic interactions between IDPs, which have been referred to in the literature as stoichiometric ‘fuzzy’ interactions. Using theoretical polymer physics tools, he was able to approximate fuzzy interacting proteins and their bonds by a much simpler model and then calculate the reaction equilibrium in this simpler case to apply it to a set of model polyelectrolyte sequences.
Alan will continue participating in research entering the Harvard University graduate program in Systems Biology in the Fall of 2019. Here he hopes to make contributions to our understanding of emergent phenomenon in biology.