Budding High School Scientist Gets Published

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General Douglas MacArthur High School senior Kimberly Mestizo had her research on protein crystallization published in the peer reviewed journal “Crystals.” (Photo by Levittown Public Schools)

Senior Kimberly Mestizo from General Douglas MacArthur High School recently joined six former MacArthur High School students who have had their high school research published in a peer reviewed journal. Her research with her team on protein crystallization has been published in the journal “Crystals.”

During the summer of 2018, Mestizo honed her research skills as an intern in the high school research program at Brookhaven National Laboratory Program. Here, she worked with biophysicists Dr. Aleida Perez and Dr. Alexei Soares, another high school student and an undergraduate on research relating to protein crystallization. The research involved a new technique called Gel Exclusion of Nucleation Inducing Elements (GENIE). The group worked with GENIE to aid the growth of protein crystals to improve the accuracy of protein growth and protein quality so that researchers can better understand the structure.

Her contribution with her team led to the research article, “A Simple Technique to Improve Microcrystals Using Gel Exclusion of Nucleation Inducing Elements.”

“When we were doing the work I never thought that it would get published,” Mestizo said. “When I first came into the program, I didn’t know what to expect but actually going through it has set me on a different path because now I know I really love science and I want to contribute.”

Although she is still unsure as to where she will attend college after graduation in the spring, Mestizo is interested in studying biochemistry.

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