In the fall semester of 2016, I took a class called Chemical Biology, a small upper-level lecture in the Chemistry department. It was probably the most difficult class of my undergraduate career, and my final paper was one of the projects of which I am most proud. I set out, in my prospectus, to approach the chemical biology of calcium signaling: the various ways in which researchers use chemical tools to understand the biology of the calcium ion as an agent of communication between systems within cells. Upon beginning to write, it quickly became clear that the topic was infinitely larger than I had expected. The entire paper became concerned with understanding the chemical interaction between a particular protein and its biological small molecule ligand – an interaction critical to the release of the calcium ion under many circumstances, and representing one of the best opportunities for its study.
Download and read my paper on the subject at the following link: IP3-binding.