Chemistry Student Tyler Oshiro Earns Best Paper Award at Northwest Undergraduate Research Conference

Pacific University senior Tyler Oshiro has been honored by the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust for presenting the best paper at the 21st annual Regional Undergraduate Research Conference in Walla Walla, Wash. Oct. 26-27.

The conference is administered by the Murdock College Science Research Program.

A chemistry major from Aiea, Hawai‘i, Oshiro earned a $500 award and Pacific's Chemistry Department received a $2,000 award for his work, titled "Cytochrome P450 2A6 purification and mechanism-based inhibition by trans-cinnamic aldehyde."

The research is part of a larger project that focuses on cytochrome P450 2A6, an enzyme that plays an important role in the metabolism of nicotine and other drugs, and the impacts of diet and genetics on this metabolism.

Oshiro collaborated with Pacific chemistry associate professor Jeannine Chan, PhD, and pharmacy associate professor John Harrelson, Ph.D., on the findings.

Held at Whitman College, the conference consisted of 18 oral presentations and hundreds of poster presentations by undergraduates from around the northwest. Students invited to give oral presentations are from colleges and universities who have been awarded MCSRP funds.

The M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust is a philanthropic organization that has generously donated millions of dollars to the small, private colleges and universities in the Pacific Northwest in support of undergraduate research in the natural sciences.

The Murdock College Science Research Program typically awards several hundred thousand dollars to an institution over a several year span to help grow their summer research program in the sciences. Pacific was admitted to the program three years ago.

The Best Paper Award is in honor of John Van Zytveld, who worked for the trust for many years and was responsible for growing the MCSRP and the conference to the size and status it has today.

"This is a tremendous honor from an organization that has given millions of dollars to Pacific over the years," said professor James Butler, who directs the university's undergraduate research initiatives.

In addition to his studies, Oshiro works in the Chemistry Department as a research assistant and represents Pacific students as a member of the university's Board of Trustees.

Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012