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Announcements from the Honors College

Biology Seminar – Dr. Carissa James ’14

Dr. Carissa James ’14 of FirstString Research, Inc.

Alternative Translation as a Novel Cellular Regulator of Gap Junctional Coupling

Monday, January 27, 2020 – 12:00-12:50 pm – RITA 102

Dr. James is a former research student of Dr. Meyer-Bernstein and an excellent speaker. She obtained her PhD in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health in 2019 from Virginia Tech and recently started a job as a Translational Scientist at First String Research in Mount Pleasant. Biology and Biochemistry students are strongly encouraged to attend.

Gap junctions, comprised of connexin proteins,are essential for direct intercellular electrical, metabolic, and immunological coupling. Connexin43 (Cx43, gene name GJA1) is the most ubiquitously expressed gap junction protein, and Cx43 gap junctions are altered in pathological states including cardiac disease and cancer. The GJA1 mRNA undergoes alternative translation initiation to yield a truncated Cx43 isoform, GJA1-20k, that can regulate gap junction formation. Using epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) as a cellular model of gap junction remodeling, we have demonstrated altered translation initiation of Gja1 as a mechanism by which cellular Cx43 gap junctions can be dynamically regulated. Suppression of Gja1 alternative translation is necessary for Cx43 gap junction loss, and stable expression of GJA1-20k rescues gap junction formation during EMT. To identify regulatory factors acting on the Gja1 mRNA, an MS2 RNA aptamer tagging system was adapted to isolate Gja1 with associated RNA binding proteins. We find the RNA binding protein IMP1 is sensitive to hypoxic stress and complexes with Gja1 mRNA, where it is necessary for alternative translation to generate GJA1-20k. We have demonstrated alterations in translation initiation of the Gja1 mRNA as a critical mechanism by which cells modulate Cx43 gap junctional coupling in changing conditions and identified a novel regulator of this process in mammalian cells.

Posted on January 24, 2020 in Announcements & Events, Research

Booz Allen Hamilton Hackathon

Join Booz Allen’s Charleston Digital Hub for a focused all-day event of solution-building for climate change.

8am-9am: Registration & Breakfast
9am: Kickoff
9:15am: Hacking begins
12pm: Lunch
5pm: Hacking ends
5pm-onwards: Judging, Dinner, & Networking

Meals: Catered breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks will be provided throughout the day.
Problem Statement: Open Source Solutions for Climate Change.
Technical Requirements: You are free to leverage any technologies, frameworks, methodologies, etc., but all solutions produced must be able to be open sourced under the MIT License. To help kickstart your creative juices, we will be providing a number of rich datasets a few weeks before the event, and their usage is not required in your solution.
Networking: Opportunities to connect with local tech professionals, industry leaders, students, and senior Booz Allen leadership.
Judging Process: We will have three challenge tracks to compete in, based on level and technical experience, with one panel of judges per each challenge track.
Prizes & Swag: All participants will receive Hackathon memorabilia swag, and the top two teams within each challenge track will receive prizes.

RSVP here!

Posted on January 22, 2020 in Announcements & Events

Have a Discussion with the City’s Department of Housing and Community Development

The City of Charleston’s Department of Housing and Community Development will host a discussion regarding the goals and strategies for the city’s 5-Year Consolidated Plan and the Analysis of Impediment for Fair Housing Choice. These plans provide a vital roadmap for the allocation of future federal funding in our Lowcountry communities. The conversation will cover housing, education, economic development, and more. The city is specifically seeking insight from College of Charleston students on their community priorities.

When: Tuesday, January 28th @ 4:00pm

Where: Lightsey Center Suite 203

Interested students can reach out to Katya Caleca at for more information. This is a great opportunity for students to engage with local government and learn about the process of allocating federal funds!

Posted on January 22, 2020 in Announcements & Events, Community Engagement

Attend the Catalyst Leadership Development Program

The Higdon Center for Student Leadership is hosting Catalyst, a one-day program set for Saturday, March 7, in the Stern Center Ballroom from 9:30am-4:00pm (lunch provided) that will push you to get real with yourself about the life-long process of learning, exploration, and action. At the end of this experience, you should leave compelled to start a new habit, to persist, and/or to live in possibility.

You will:

  • Engage in learning. Showing up is only part of participating. Participants will challenge themselves to do something different to help their learning. Catalyst will be about taking ownership of learning and what can be accomplished in community with others.
  • Connect with ideas and people. Participants will have time to get to know other people and listen to their thoughts. It is rare to have the space to connect with other people and what they truly care about in the world. The Catalyst curriculum creates a community that welcomes that opportunity.
  • Craft your personal story. Where have you been? Who are you? What labels have you adopted that help tell your story? We are constantly writing our life’s story. We will take some time to think about what stories have been learned along the way and how personal development has occurred. When we tell our story, we allow others to see us in a different way. We also make it a little easier for them to tell their story. Let’s have courage and be brave together to share stories and listen to the stories of others.
  • Expand your perspective. If you continue to do what you have always done, you can’t really expect different results. Catalyst will challenge participants to think out of the box. Ask “why” more often. Quietly reflect on choices and the path so far… and then look further. We do not know everything we think we know. Catalyst will encourage participants to engage curiosity and remain open to a different way of seeing the world.

The program is capped at 60 people, so don’t wait to apply here!

Posted on January 21, 2020 in Announcements & Events

Figuring Out Fulbright: Where to Begin?

What are your post-graduation plans? Interested in travel? Want to teach English, study at a university abroad, or complete a creative project? Get to know the Fulbright Scholars program and the different opportunities available! The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards will be holding a general information session for students interested in Fulbright.

Who: Current juniors interested in the Fulbright Scholars program and/or studying or teaching abroad after graduation

What: Introduction to the Fulbright Scholars program, types of grants, countries of interest, and application requirements

Where: Maybank 115 When: January 23rd, 5-6:30 pm

Questions? Contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards,

Posted on January 15, 2020 in Announcements & Events, Scholarships, Grants & Awards, Study Abroad

Guest Speaker: Youssef Jamel

Dr. Youssef Jamel, an Assistant Professor at the University of Bahrain located off the coast of Saudi Arabia, is visiting College of Charleston to give two talks about how he approaches teaching American and British Cultural Studies in other areas of the world, as well as changes in Tunisia in the past decade.

Posted on January 14, 2020 in Announcements & Events

Sturcken Memorial Oratorical Competition

Proposals for the second annual Sturcken Memorial Oratorical Competition are now open. Voice your opinion on an issue you see on College of Charleston’s campus regarding inclusivity, sustainability, or another area, as well as your suggested solution. Cash prizes and a commitment by the College to work toward solving the problem are on offer.

Visit this page for details and the proposal form.

Posted on January 14, 2020 in Announcements & Events, Community Engagement

What’s Your Award? Let’s Find Out!

The Office of Nationally Competitive Awards will be holding a general information session for students to get to know our office and the award opportunities that range disciplines, class years, and countries.
Who: Everyone—Undergraduates and graduates alike!
What: Introduction to the NCA office and available awards and information on how we can help you find the right award for you.
Where: Maybank 115
When: January 16th, 5-6:30 pm
Questions? Contact the Office of Nationally Competitive Awards,

Posted on January 9, 2020 in Announcements & Events, Scholarships, Grants & Awards

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