Claremont, Calif. (November 16, 2015)—Pitzer College student Lillian Horin ’17 earned a presentation award for outstanding research in physiology at the 2015 Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science conference. Horin was one of nearly a thousand undergraduate and graduate student presenters at the conference, which was held on October 29-31 in Washington DC.
Horin’s presentation, “Protein expression of CD36 increases after infusion of thyroid-stimulating hormone during prolonged fasting in northern elephant seal pups,” examined the association between thyroid hormones and the metabolism of lipids—naturally occurring molecules that include fats—in northern elephant seal pups during a two-to-three month post-weaning fast. Her research involved measuring changes in protein expression of a major lipid-mobilizing protein in response to thyroid-stimulating hormone, and how those expressions change in response to fasting duration. Ultimately, a greater understanding of the role of thyroid hormones in lipid metabolism may contribute to the development of thyroid hormone-based therapies for metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
Horin’s presentation outlined research she conducted over the summer with graduate students in the Rudy Ortiz Lab at the University of California, Merced. Horin said her experience working in a lab and presenting at the SACNAS conference changed the way she thinks about scientific research.
“Research is not just about conducting research studies—it’s about learning how to ask questions, learning the necessary skills and techniques to answer those questions, and then learning how to communicate your research to other people in hopes of forming collaborations and furthering the knowledge in your field,” Horin said. “It’s not just about science, but also about effective communication and making a difference.”
A biology major, Horin represents Pitzer in The Claremont Colleges’ chapter of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. In 2014, she won the RESPECT! Challenge for her work in violence prevention as volunteer with a teen-to-teen hotline.
The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals. The 2015 SACNAS conference drew more than 3,400 students and science professionals of color for three days of mentoring, networking and career development.