Michelle Russin

Mentor: Dr. Yehia Daaka
College of Medicine
"Having a strong interest in science and desire to pursue medicine, I value the potential that research holds for discovering the molecular basis for disease that may lead us to improvements in patient treatments. Researching in cell biology has allowed me to apply what I learn in lecture to real-life lab procedures, helping me realize the value of research in putting scientific knowledge to medical use. Under the guidance of my research mentor, I have discovered a deep passion for the lifelong learning found in research and I am very determined to champion my project as a University Scholar."


Food Science and Human Nutrition



Research Interests

  • Renal Cell Carcinoma
  • Stem Cell Therapy
  • Autism Spectrum Disorde

Academic Awards

  • Anderson Scholar Award
  • UF Presidential Service Award
  • Howard Appledorf Memorial Scholarship
  • CALS Florida Rural Rehabilitation Corporation Scholarship


  • Delta Delta Delta Fraternity
  • American Medical Student Association
  • Health Outreach Quality Improvement Program (HOQI)


  • Equal Access Clinic Network
  • Dream Team UF Health
  • Camp Boggy Creek

Hobbies and Interests

  • Volleyball
  • Cooking
  • Biking
  • Tennis

Research Description

Characterizing the Role of Arrestin Proteins in Renal Cell Carcinoma Progression
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and their effectors such as the GPCR Kinases (GRKs) and arrestins (arrestin 2 and 3) have been associated with tumor growth, invasion and metastasis, and angiogenesis. The main objective behind this research project is to determine the function of arrestin 3 and how it regulates Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) tumor progression. Arrestin 3 will be stably knocked down in ACHN and SN12C cell lines using interfering RNA technology such as shRNA. HEK cells will be used to generate virus containing pLKO plasmid containing the shRNA-arrestin 3 to infect the ACHN and SN12C cells. Immunoblotting will be used to confirm the efficiency of the knockdown. These generated stable cells lines will be used in vitro to test arrestin 3 in proliferation, migration and invasion. We will first conduct a colorometric assay using WST to calculate the doubling time and proliferation of the cells. Migration assays will then be performed where the cells will be starved then seeded in the top compartment of a standard boyden chamber in serum-free media. Cells will migrate towards 1% fetal bovine serum (FBS) complete RPMI media placed in the bottom chamber. For invasion assays, we will seed cells on coated transwell inserts with a basal membrane extract (matrigel), a commonly used mimic of the extracellular matrix. Cells will be fixed, stained and quantified to show arrestin 3 effect on tumor cells’ ability to proliferate, migrate and invade.