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Andres Ruiz: Making the most of every opportunity at Penn State

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Ruiz Photo with Summatar

Andres Ruiz with his mentor Dr. Sampurna Sattar

Andres Ruiz is a Senior at Penn State majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology. Originally from Colombia, Ruiz now resides in Bridgeport Connecticut. Biochemistry was not his original plan though. Initially he came to Penn State to study Forensic Science. His interest in law enforcement, along with his love for science, led him to believe that combining both fields would provide him the perfect major. After his first year in Forensic Science he quickly realized he did not want to follow through with the law enforcement side but was still very interested in understanding the processes that allow organisms to function and survive. Ruiz became more focused in conducting research and eventually joined the Thompson Lab in the College of Agricultural Sciences where he is mentored by Asst. Research Professor, Dr. Sampurna Sattar.

Theresearch he presented at the Eberly College of Science Undergraduate Research Poster Session entitled “The Effect of Nicotinamide on Aphids and Their Host Plants” is a collaborative effort between Dr. Wendy Hanna-Rose, Department Head of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Dr. Gary Thompson in the College of Agricultural Sciences. The research monitors the effect of Nicotinamide or vitamin B3 on insect feeding and survivalon plants. Experiments used Arabidopsis and green peach aphids to study the effect of nicotinamide. Concentrations of 1mM to 100mM Nicotinamide were sprayed onto the Arabidopsis plants which were monitored after 3, 5, and 7 days.

After the nicotinamide spray was dry, green peach aphids were added to each plant, and Ruiz monitored their mortality and reproduction. His research showed that no aphids survived nicotinamide concentrations of 5mM or higher after 5 days. He also saw that after 3 days 50% of the aphids had died when exposed to concentrations of 2.5 – 7.5mM Nicotinamide.

Like many other graduating Seniors Ruiz is not completely sure what his next steps will be but is sure that the path he eventually chooses will be somewhere working in industry. He would like to obtain a job as a research associate for some time before attending graduate school and believes that he will be successful earning either his Ph.D or Masters Degree. One day Ruiz hopes to become a team leader on a project that will make a significant impact and improve patient care.