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Florika Macazo featured in UMBC News

Brains and Ingenuity

May 19, 2016 11:11 AM

Congratulations to recent graduate Florika Macazo (Ph.D. 2016, Chemistry) being featured in UMBC news, detailing her dissertation work and the ingenuity behind it that led to NSF funding.  Macazo’s project expands the capability of an established technique, scanning conductance ion microscopy (SCIM), which uses electric current to create a topographical map of a nanoscale surface. This procedure was adapted using naturally-occurring protein channels, a kind of molecular gate, to measure concentrations of ions passing in and out of cells. In her novel technique, Macazo recreated a simple cell membrane at the pipet tip and embedded the protein channel in it. She has successfully tested a channel called hemolysin, which allows anything smaller than 1.4 nanometers across to pass through. The translational part of this research would allow measuring the concentrations of charged molecules (ions) passing through cell membranes in the brain to increase understanding of cell-to-cell communication in healthy brains and those with neurodevelopmental disorders. Well done, Flaire!!

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