The Catholic University of America

Dec. 5, 2008

CUA Senior Is Co-Author of Paper in Renowned Biochemistry Journal

Michael Dougherty

Michael Dougherty, a senior pre-med biology major from Hazelton, Pa., is one of the authors of a paper that will appear in the Dec. 12 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry, a pre-eminent journal of biochemistry and molecular biology.

Dougherty spent his entire junior year working in the lab of Professor of Biology John Golin as part of a research experiments elective course. The paper that came out of that research, "Mutations Define Crosstalk Between the End Terminal Nucleotide-Binding Domain and Transmembrane Helix-2 of the Yeast Multi-Drug Transporter Pdr5," describes experiments that use novel genetic and biochemical approaches to study the relationship between structure and function in a large multidrug transport protein.

Mutations in these proteins can cause cellular multidrug resistance, leading to cancers or infections that are virtually impossible to treat. Golin was the paper's primary author.

Dougherty's work involved isolating and characterizing mutant proteins, as well as preparing purified membrane vesicles - intracellular, membrane-enclosed sacs - that allow the biochemical activity of this transporter to be measured and examined. Dougherty is applying to medical schools and hopes to attend Temple University School of Medicine next fall.

Authorship in scientific journals is uncommon but not unheard of for CUA undergraduates. In his 24 years at Catholic University, Golin has supervised about 100 undergraduates. Dougherty will be the sixth to achieve co-authorship in a major publication.

Golin says Dougherty's authorship is due, in part, to the fact that the student went above and beyond the requirements of the course, an independent research lab, delving into Golin's research with incredible dedication and interest.

"The Journal of Biological Chemistry is considered to be the top-ranked primary biochemistry journal in the world, so this is quite an honor for Michael," Golin said.

For Dougherty's part, the student says he is just grateful to have had the chance to assistant in Golin's research.

"I really appreciate the opportunity he gave me to do this research," Dougherty said. "As a young scientist, it was an incredible experience."