Daren McCalla

Daren McCalla

Department: Chemistry
Advisor: Mary Jo Ondrechen



Hello, I’m Daren, a senior biochemistry major from Valley Stream, NY. I have plans to go to medical school after I graduate but I would like to explore other research opportunities before I enter next year.

My research project for the IGERT program is centered around integrins, a type of cell adhesion protein. These proteins are instrumental in many interactions between cells or cells and their environment that include the activation and transport of leukocytes (white blood cells). Professor Ondrechen and her colleagues have devised a computer program that can predict the location of possible active sites on most proteins that are involved in some kind of binding activity. Adhesion sites tend to be weaker than active sites and for this reason I am actually using another computer program from one of Prof. Ondrechen’s colleagues to detect these locations on the integrins. The goal is to eventually use these “sticky” sites to attach nanoparticles that be used to trace or deliver chemicals to certain cells and tissues.

I hope to have more results before the semester’s end.