PULLMAN, Wash. — A local graduate and Washington State University biochemistry major has been named the second Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholar for 2002-03 by the WSU College of Sciences.
Lisa Cannon, a 1999 graduate of Stevens High School, is a student at WSU’s Honors College and has performed several years of research in the laboratory of chemistry professor Zhaohui “Sunny” Zhou.
Cannon developed the first assay, based on color change for easy detection, for S-adenosylmethionine, a nutritional supplement sold as a treatment for arthritis and depression. She was first author on a paper about her work that was published in the Analytical Biochemistry journal and presented a poster at the American Chemical Society Northwestern Regional Meeting. She is working to reveal the biochemical properties of a new enzyme, LuxS, which plays a crucial role in bacterial infection.
“She is studying mutants of this enzyme and screening for inhibitors — work that may lead to a new generation of anti-infective agents,” Zhou said.
Zhou attributes Cannon’s research successes to her creative approach and ability to work on multiple problems simultaneously as well as her strengths as a productive team member and effective teaching assistant.
Cannon’s awards include a Herbert L. Eastlick Scholarship in premedicine, an Edward Meyer Science Opportunity Scholarship and summer, research internships with WSU’s College of Sciences and Honors College. This summer she completed a medical mission in Iquitos, Peru, on the Amazon.
After graduating from WSU in May 2003, Cannon plans to enter medical school to pursue a career in orthopedic or reconstructive surgery and hopes to continue research within the biomedical sciences and stay involved in her athletic and artistic hobbies, she said.
Cannon is the daughter of Cheryll and Walter T. Cannon of Rapid City, S.D.
Four Outstanding Undergraduate Research Scholars are selected each year; they receive $250 book awards. The OUR Award recognizes the scholars for their research achievements and their faculty mentors.