Dr. Sanela Martic may be new to Trent University, but she knows more about the student body than you do. With research at the interface of chemistry and biology, Professor Martic, an assistant professor in the Forensic Science program, is learning about the interactions between tiny biomolecules (e.g. proteins, DNA) for application in forensic, environmental, life and biomedical sciences.
Prof. Martic joined Trent University in January after several years as a professor in Michigan, bringing a strong background in chemistry and biochemistry to Trent’s prestigious and popular forensic science programs.
“I am excited to contribute to the growth of the Forensic Science program,” says Prof. Martic. “As a chemist and biochemist, I wanted to join an interdisciplinary department to not only offer my skills as a specialized analyst, but also welcome opportunities to work with other experts.”
Prof. Martic heads the Martic Lab, which studies everything from DNA to diseases to drugs. Undergraduate and graduate students in the lab have learned to use chemistry, biochemistry and analytical tools to detect and measure molecules, and have presented their findings at several conferences over the past few months.
The results from these studies ultimately help to understand the effects of chemical substances on living organisms—humans, animals and plants—leading to better detection and diagnoses. Current research projects in the Martic Lab are funded by the National Institutes of Health, American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Funds, and American Heart Association.
As the lab grows alongside Trent’s forensic program, they are looking to expand the molecules and problems they study. In particular, the Prof. Martic is interested in studying cannabinoids, with respect to both humans and non-humans.
“With the recent legalization of cannabis, our lab is interested in partnering with industry to learn more about how the presence of cannabinoids affects the biochemistry of humans, how to identify cannabinoids in plant tissues, and to learn to trace the cannabinoid to a particular crop, and we’re well-positioned to do so with the expertise and infrastructure at Trent,” Prof. Martic says.
The Martic Lab emphasizes interdisciplinary learning. Students in the lab gain experience in biochemistry, analytical chemistry and organic chemistry, and in some cases partner with other departments, such as environmental programs.
Learn more about the Martic Lab.