Make The Connection

November 21, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Myles Steed ’23 has completed scientific research on and off campus, including chemistry research at Ohio Wesleyan (shown here) and biochemistry research at Cornell University in New York. He has earned two awards for presentations explaining his Cornell work. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Retrovirus Research

Ohio Wesleyan Senior Recognized for Caliber of Scientific Presentations

Myles Steed ’23

Name: Myles Steed ’23
Hometown: Marion, Ohio
Major: Biochemistry and Microbiology
High school: Pleasant High School
Latest OWU Connection experiences: Conducting summer research in the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at Cornell University; presenting research findings at three professional conferences

Steed spent the past summer using cryo-electron microscopy to study the “Characterization of the Effects of IP6 on Jaagsiekte Sheep Retrovirus (JSRV) Assembly” as part of a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) opportunity at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

In addition to presenting his findings at Ohio Wesleyan’s recent Summer Science Research Symposium, Steed also made poster presentations at these professional conferences and received the following recognitions:

  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minoritized Students (ABRCMS) in November in Anaheim, California. A first-generation college student, Steed earned the 2022 ABRCMS Presentation Award for the caliber of his presentation.
  • Ohio Branch Board for the American Society of Microbiology (OBASM) in September at The Ohio State University. For this presentation, Steed earned the 2022 Allen A. Ichida Award for Undergraduate Research Excellence.
  • Leadership Alliance National Symposium (LANS) in July in Hartford, Connecticut.

What I Researched

“In layman’s terms, Jaagsiekte Sheep Retrovirus (JSRV) is a virus that is known to cause lung cancer in sheep. JSRV’s genetic composition is similar to other viruses such as HIV, so it was thought that the structure of JSRV would be related as well.

“Furthermore, a chemical made naturally in cells known as inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) has been found to be needed for forming the structure of HIV and contribute to further disease, however, little is known about IP6’s effect on JSRV. To study these questions about JSRV, we utilized microscopy and biochemical lab techniques in the hopes to identify viral targets for treatment.”

My Favorite Moments

“My favorite moment at Cornell was exploring Ithaca. Ithaca is a very beautiful town that has many waterfalls and restaurants, and I got to explore it all with a great group of people that I had the pleasure of working with over the summer.

“I also liked learning what it was like to work as a graduate student. During the REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program, I was essentially functioning as a fully independent graduate student, which gave me the opportunity to see what it was like to work at one of the leading institutions in biochemical research.

“My favorite moment of ABRCMS was getting the opportunity to hear from Dr. Mae Jemison about her experiences as the first Black woman in space as well as hearing from Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi, the recent recipient of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.”

Mentoring Support

“For obtaining my internship at Cornell, I could not have made it without the help of Danielle Bailey from the Career Connection for help with the application process as well as the mentorship of Dr. Laura-Tuhela Reuning (Biological Sciences) and Dr. Kayce Tomcho (Chemistry).

“In addition, I have also received great mentorship from two OWU Alumni: Dr. Max Schroeder (Class of 2009) as well as Dr. Claire Hoptay (Class of 2009). All of my mentors have helped me navigate the internship process as well as help me figure out what career path I am most interested in pursuing.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose to attend Ohio Wesleyan due to the ability to have close relationships with my professors as well as getting the opportunity to be hands-on in the laboratory.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I have applied for this application cycle for Microbiology/Biochemistry Ph.D. programs at Emory University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Pittsburgh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Cornell University. Applying to these schools was a challenging task, and I am very grateful for all of my mentors from OWU who have helped me throughout the whole process. Without their constant support, I definitely would not be at the place I am today.”