Skip to main content
Investigative Studies Experience
Joel Neville ’24
Joel Neville





Faculty Mentor

Dr. Suzanne Parsons, Biochemistry

Current Research Project

Activation of PARP-1 in apoptosis induced by different parabens in human melanoma cells  

Joel Neville is a senior at Marietta College and he participated in the Investigative Studies Program in Summer 2023 and presented his on "Activation of PARP-1 in apoptosis induced by different parabens in human melanoma cells" in June.

Can you translate your work so we can all understand its importance?

In Dr. Parsons’ research group, our main goal is to find a therapeutic treatment for human melanoma. We culture human melanoma cells and then treat them with three different parabens, which are chemicals used in preservatives, to see if they induce higher rates of apoptosis compared to control. Apoptosis is controlled cellular death, which is favored compared to other forms in which a cell can die. We also look at the pathway that the cell is taking while it dies, by looking at multiple proteins that get activated through western blot, the pathway that the cell is taking to die is revealed.

What did you learn most from your research?

I learned to be a better researcher and increased my presentation skills. I was on my own for some days during research and if I ran into problems, I had to figure out what the best way to go forward was. Doing this was stressful, but I believe it helped me out in the long run by giving me more experience of being in the lab setting. Also, during the investigative studies research my presentation skills increased greatly because of all of the exercises we did with it.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?

The summer after my freshman year I got started. I met Dr. Parsons, through an online lab course that I took, and I got her as my advisor, after that she asked me if I wanted to do research. I got involved with research because I wanted to get better in the lab and because I found what they were researching interesting.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?

Do it, and, if you get the opportunity, try the Investigative Studies Program.

Mentor Suzanne Parsons says:

Using a skillset that includes mammalian cell culture, microplate assays, and western blot analysis, Joel has collected data to continue his research during his senior year and present his work at the American Chemical Society Meeting in New Orleans in Spring 2024. Joel’s problem-solving and communication skills will serve him well as he applies for medical school and continues his career in the sciences.