Aysha Awal

Mentor: Dr. Yuqing Li
College of medicine
 
"I imagine that one of the most clichéd responses to the question, “Why are you a science major or why do want to do research?” is the answer, “Because I want to learn.” And yet, this is the answer I provide to those who ask. After all, Cliché’s relevance signifies sentiments rooted in the fundamental nature of humanity. I have always been inquisitive and science has always been my passion. When you combine both of them, research is the logical conclusion. Research will allow me to pursue my interests, challenge myself and most importantly learn something new. I hope one day I can make a contribution to the scientific world with my research but for now I simply want to learn more and expand my horizon."

Major

Microbiology

Minor

Classical studies

Research Interests

  • Neurological disorders
  • Movement disorders
  • Animal behavior

Academic Awards

  • Hollywood Florida Scholarship
  • Dean's List
  • Sellinger Scholarship

Organizations

  • American Medical Student Association
  • Gator EMR
  • Gator advocates for World Health

Volunteer

  • Rahma Mercy Clinic
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Gator Pals

Hobbies and Interests

  • Photography
  • Traveling
  • Reading
  • Baking

Research Description

Behavioral Characterization of MEIS1 mice- a Potential model for Restless legs syndrome
Restless legs syndrome (RLS), also known as Willis-Ekbom disease, is a neurological disorder characterized by irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by unusual or unpleasant sensations. It is one of the most common movement and sleep disorder affecting 5 to 10% of the population. Recent genomic study has identified four genes that play important roles in RLS: BTBD9, MEIS1, MAP2K5, PTPRD. Even though there have genes identifies that are associated with RLS, causal variants have been yet found with majority of the RLS heritability factors still being unknown. I am more specifically interested in the MEIS1 gene. Little is known about the function of MEIS1 or its potential for phenotypes similar to symptoms found in RLS patients. Our lab has generated a line of MEIS1 mutant mice which can be utilized to examine to what extent this gene is involved in RLS and how the phenotypes exhibit in a mouse model. The long-term objective is to characterize a mouse model that can be used to further study the physiopathology and test develop new treatment for RLS.