Marissa Suchyta, University of Chicago Laboratory High School, Chicago, IL
Geminin mutant reveals the mechanism to inhibit DNA re-replication
Ms. Suchyta’s biochemistry project researched the mechanism by which the protein Geminin prevents DNA from replicating more than one time before a cell divides. Over-replication of DNA will lead to genetic instability, which in turn gives rise to cells exhibiting uncontrolled cell division. The work adds to our knowledge of how DNA replication is controlled and has implications to develop new approaches to treating diseases like cancer. Her mentor for this project was Dr. Thomas McGarry, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Feinberg School of Medicine, at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois.
Ms. Suchyta is a senior from South Barrington, Illinois, who is taking college courses in addition to her full high school schedule. Even with this course load, she has maintained straight A’s throughout all of high school. In college, she would like to double major in Neurobiology and Molecular/Cellular Biology, eventually becoming a neurosurgeon with a PhD in molecular oncology. She placed second at Nationals in the National History Day Competition and was named a Regional Winner in the Discovery Young Scientist Challenge. Ms. Suchyta competes on the Model United Nations and Varsity Science Olympiad teams.
Ms. Suchyta founded the first Midwest chapter of the American Cancer Society’s “High Schools Against Cancer” campaign and began her own nonprofit organization that donates gift buckets to teenage oncology patients. Through her work with the American Cancer Society (ACS), she has been invited to be on the organization’s board and has presented research at the ACS Annual Meeting. Additionally, Ms. Suchyta has been the President of the Gavel Club, Captain of the Forensics Team and the Captain of the Mock Trial Team. She is also a Peer Leader and is near completion of earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. Furthermore, Ms. Suchyta is a competitive ballroom dancer, specifically in the Latin division. She plays the violin as well as the mandolin and speaks French fluently.