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Alexandre Paul Alloy
Graduate Student

I have always been fascinated by scientific theories and learning how things work, but my interest in experimental research was piqued during a summer internship at the University of Montreal. I studied the acetylation and de-acetylation on a lysine residue in histone H3, and its role on DNA repair mechanisms. This was an eye-opening experience. I learned how science develops new knowledge, and how it creates clear pictures of microscopic phenomena, occasionally from unsuspected indirect methods.

After graduating from the University of Quebec at Montreal with a BSc in biochemistry, I moved to Florida, one block away from the Atlantic Ocean, to work at the Mayo Clinic as a laboratory technician. I studied the interactions of proteases with their small protein inhibitors using x-ray crystallography, biochemical assays and site-directed mutagenesis. I discovered why a metastasis-causing protease, mesotrypsin, is resistant to inhibition by potent trypsin inhibitors. My results will hopefully open up an avenue to developing therapeutic inhibitors of mesotrypsin that could slow down cancer progression in patients.

From these two experiences, I became very interested not only in theories and abstract ideas, but also in experimentation, observation, and in the interpretation of data.

At Columbia, I would like to study the workings of biologically relevant molecules at the atomic scale and to gain a better understanding of how biological machines work, whether isolated or in their biological context.

When I am not in a lab pipetting solutions, I enjoy reading about history and science, street/candid photography, travelling, going to museums, writing, and learning traditional Chinese characters.

Alexandre Alloy
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