Maldonato, Ben

Ben Maldonato

Ben was born in New Jersey and graduated from South County Secondary School in Lorton, VA.  He is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry along with ACS certification.

His research is conducted the Dr. Carl E. Creutz’s lab in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  The project focuses on the elucidation of enzymatic function for human copine I, one protein in a class of highly conserved proteins found in many plants and animals. Copines are known to bind negatively charged phospholipids in the presence of calcium however a highly conserved motif containing a serine, histidine and aspartate supports the hypothesis that copine may have enzymatic function.  Ben’s thesis project is focused on utilizing dye displacement assays to determine possible copine substrates and to further determine if covalent modification of copine or other proteins is occuring via immunoassays.  Current results show that copine has acetylation capabilities yet further research is required to find target proteins.

Following graduation, Ben will be joining the PhD program in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Washington in Fall 2014.