Ameer Basta


Mentor: Dr. Weihong Tan

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

"I got involved with research to treat diseases. I will use research to solve problems and answer questions. "


Biochemistry, Chemistry



Research Interests

  • Aptamer Therapeutics
  • Medicinal Chemistry
  • Umbilical Cord Blood


  • American Physician Scientists Association
  • Gator Salsa


  • Local VA volunteer transporter
  • LifeSouth Community Blood Bank
  • Florida Hospital North Pinellas

Hobbies and Interests

  • Flying
  • Computer science
  • Business model for app
  • Race and ethnicity problems in the US

Research Description

Light-Responsive Manipulation of Protein Phosphorylation with Growth Factor Receptor
I will try to use DNA to control cell regeneration with light. Based on a recent paper published by JACS, receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) can be modified with aptamers and non-cognate ligands to dimerize the protein Met and activate the cell signaling pathway. My goal is to control the pathway with the use of azobenzene and visible/UV light to control the known chances of cancer with cell regeneration. I plan to do this by firstly, reacting the DNA in solution. The results can be tested by gel electrophoresis and fluorescence (by adding fluorophore and quencher]. Secondly, I will test the DNA reaction on the membrane of cells (A459 cells will be tested first) by flow cytometry. Thirdly, I will test the phosphorylation of downstream proteins by Western blotting. Finally, I will perform other tests to prove the Met functionalization (such as measurement of cell migration). A backup design is to use PC-linker in the middle of the cDNA to the aptamers to achieve light-controlled deactivation, but the process will not be reversible.