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Undergraduate Research Showcase

Undergraduate research is the exploration of a specific topic within a field by an undergraduate student that makes an original contribution to the discipline.

Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Gene Mutations


Sydney StraderMy name is Sydney Strader and I am a sophomore at Valencia and will be transferring to the University of Central Florida this upcoming fall. I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine and specifically interested in research regarding preventative healthcare and personalized medical treatments.


ABSTRACT:  The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a protein that controls cell growth and division. The EGFR can be overactivated in cancer patients, causing cells to grow and divide too quickly. The drug erlotinib has produced a significant response in inhibiting EGFR growth  in patients who have been diagnosed with malignant glioma. Studies show that 8 out of 41 glioma patients had beneficial results due to Erlotinib. The study concluded that  patients with different mutations may not have the same benefit as others. Patients with an EGFR-L861Q mutation were not as likely as those with EGFR mutations L858R and G719S to respond to the drug. It is currently undetermined what characteristics of these mutations make it more receptive to erlotinib than others. The aim of this study is to find these properties by comparing the amino acid sequences of the different EGFR mutations and wild-type to find characteristics that contribute to a more beneficial response to Erlotinib. Preliminary research shows differences between the three mutations in: hydrophobic residues, buried uncharged residue replacements, the presence of hydrogen bonds, cavity contractions or expansions, and exposed or buried residues. The data may suggest that these differences contribute to the difference in receptiveness of the drug erlotinib in cancer patients between the variant mutations.


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Faculty Mentor

Rita Luther

Professor of Biology

East Campus



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