"I applied to the scholars program because I wanted to take my research on to a higher level. I hope to learn more about oral epithelium. My goals for the year are get some useful research done and prepare for dental school."
My primary academic and research interests include, the oral epithelium, salivary glands, and glycobiology.
Academic and Other Awards
- Debbie-Rand Memorial Service League Scholarship
Dental assisting and education projects.
Hobbies and Interests
- Scuba diving, soccer and rugby.
Mucin-Lectin Distribution and Interactions in Oral Keritinized and Para-Keratinized Epithelium
Dr. Culp’s lab has a long-standing interest in the protective role of mucin glycoproteins in protection of teeth and the oral mucosa. A number of mucin genes are classified as membrane-associated mucins. Members of this family of mucins have a large extracellular domain that is highly glycosylated, a trans-membrane domain and a cytoplasmic domain. Galactose and sialic acid are common and abundant carbohydrates of mucins glycoproteins and an important part of our project is to show if there is any interactions between these carbohydrates and two important lectins which bind to them, galectins and siglecs respectively. Galectins and siglecs are transmembrane proteins with a cytoplasmic signaling domain and an extracellular lectin domain. Cellular lectins have been shown to either promote or inhibit intracellular tyrosine signaling. With this project we hope to characterize the distribution of the different membrane-associated mucins and then look to see if up or down regulation of certain mucins may effect galectin and siglec expression. We are looking for this relationship because we hypothesis that membrane-associated mucins expressed by differentiated oral epithelia are associated with one or more galectins or siglecs and that this association is involved in cellular surveillance of the external environment to regulate homeostasis. To test for expression of mucin, galectin, and siglec transcripts we will use semi-quantitative RT-PCR. Then we will try inducing up and down regulation by knocking down a mucin gene and assess the change of expression using Q-PCR. Finally depending on these results Immunohistochemistry may be done to assess co-localization.