"I wished to keep going on with my research project at the Bungert lab towards my thesis and be able to publish my work in the Journal for Undergraduate Research. It is a great opportunity to be able to achieve this goal as a growing scientist. With this program I will also be able to present my work at symposiums and have peers review my poster and presentations. This will enhance my presentation skills , and prepare me very well for graduate school."
IDS Genetics, Microbiology
I am highly interested in the field of genetics and microbiology. I enjoy research quite a lot, and have been working with my PI Dr. Bungert for more than three years now. I am interested in DNA-protein interactions and stimulatory factors in the cell. I have been working specifically on the human beta globin gene, with relation to the sickle cell anemia disease. I would like to gain a PhD in stem cell biology or cancer biology after finishing my undergraduate degree. After that I am planning on working in pharmaceutical industries.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Anderson Scholar Award for Higher Honors (2010)
- President's List (2008-2009)
- United World College Davis Scholarship (2008-2012)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science for Life (2009)
- Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular and Quantitative and Computational Biology (2010)
- Fencing medals in regional and national competitions
- Resident Assistant at Tolbert
- Honors Ambassador
- UF Fencing Team
I am volunteering as a private tutor for the Biochemistry course BCH4024 at the Broward Teaching Center.
Hobbies and Interests
- Fencing, dancing, and the arts.
Studying the Role of Transcription Factor Proteins in the Regulation of the Human β- globin Gene.
USF is composed of USF1 and USF2, two proteins very similar in function and properties. The main question raised is; how does USF regulate globin gene expression? The hypothesis of this experiment states that USF interacts with co-regulator proteins that activate gene expression by altering the chromatin structure or function of the transcription complex. The first objective is to identify USF interacting proteins. We start by expressing biotinylatable USF2 in Mouse Erythroleukemia (MEL) cells, meaning it contains a short specific amino acid (AA) sequence that can be biotinylated. Then we express the USF2 –biotin-tagged (biotag) protein in MEL cells along with the BirA-ligase, which will add a biotin group to the biotag sequence. In the next step biotinylated USF2 and interacting proteins will be isolated from the MEL cells using Streptavidin covered magnetic beads. Streptavidin is a protein purified from the bacterium Streptomyces and has a strong affinity for biotin. Then, we identify USF2 associated proteins by using Mass Spectrometry, and Western Blot analytical techniques. The isolated USF2 protein complexes will be subjected to Gel-electrophoresis and different protein bands will be excised from the gel and analyzed by Mass-Spectrometry. As a control we will use nuclear extracts from cells only expressing BirA. Mass Spectrometry helps us determine the elemental composition of a sample or molecule. The Western Blot is a method to identify proteins using specific antibodies. Protein interactions with USF2 will be verified by a Co-Immunoprecipitation protocol. Co-IP is the technique to precipitate protein complexes using a specific antibody and to then examine the presence of other proteins by Western blotting. The second objective is to test for whether USF interacting proteins associate with the globin locus in the cells. A ChIP (Chromatin Immunoprecipitation) assay will be performed to identify DNA–protein interactions.