NUSURF Student Spotlights

Christian Domin

Christian Domin (2018)


Career Interest: Plans to attend University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, obtain her Pharm.D. and become a community pharmacist. After a few years of experience, she may return to school to obtain a MBA and enter a management position in the pharmaceutical industry.


The question I am investigating is: does curcumin enhance/inhibit apoptosis in HeLa cervical and Cal 27 oral cancer cells in culture? I have tested the effects of curcumin on HeLa cells. I found that increasing concentrations of curcumin caused increased amounts of apoptosis. I began testing the effects of curcumin on a line of oral cancer cells (CAL-27). I tested increasing concentrations of curcumin on the oral cancer cells, and observed increased amounts of apoptosis with increasing concentrations of curcumin. In both cases, I measured apoptosis using fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. I also study the effects of curcumin in addition with photodynamic therapy on cancer cells. Photodynamic therapy uses light sensitive molecules known as photosensitizers to create reactive oxygen species in cancer cells, as does curcumin. I have found that curcumin acts as a photosensitizer in Hela cells, but not CAL-27 cells. This semester, I have done an ELISA assay to investigate gene expression profiles in CAL-27 cells, and plan to do the same in Hela cells.

Research Conferences Attended:

  • April 2017-Eastern Colleges Science Conference (at Wilkes University)-Poster Presentation
  • April 2017-Niagara University Undergraduate Research Conference (at Niagara University)-Poster Presentation
  • October 2017-Rochester Academy of Science Paper Session (at St. John Fisher College)-Poster Presentation