I have been an undergraduate student in the Karlstrom Lab for two years and am now working my senior honors thesis research project. I am teamed up with our brilliant lab technician, Meng-Chieh Shen, working on developing a new transgenic tool for the study of Shh signaling in zebrafish. We are using a Tetracycline-On conditional gene regulation system and generating transgenic zebrafish lines that will allow us to manipulate Shh signaling in specific tissues at selected times. We have generated most lines and I am now excited to use qPCR and other techniques to test whether (and how well) this system works to alter the expression Shh target genes in live zebrafish of all ages (embryos through adulthood). My goal is to establish that this works and then apply it as a tool to understand how Hh signaling regulates ventral forebrain growth and stem cell renewal.
My laboratory work is complemented by many of the courses I take for my major in Biology as well as my membership in the Junior Fellows in the Life Sciences Program. Apart from research, I am involved in community service programs, such as the UMass Red Cross Club and the Amherst Survival Center. I am a strong advocate for social justice and am a cast member in UMass’ peer education social justice theater troupe, called “Shaha, The Storytellers”. I am also a member of the UMass Medical Baccalaureate MD Program at UMass Medical School. After graduating, I hope to continue research in cell biology and attend medical school.
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