"In my application to USP I had a desire to see what being a researcher really means. USP has allowed me not only to become a researcher but to have my very own project. I now have the chance to obtain more experience and skills that will not only hone my research technique but to gain real-world knowledge about real-world problems and actually provide a small contribution to the scientific community."
Microbiology and Cell Science
Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Biochemistry.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Florida Bright Futures
- Take Stock in Children Academic Scholarship
- Dean's List
- Centerpoint Christian Fellowship
Belize Mission Teams.
Hobbies and Interests
- Music, racquetball, cooking, reading, photography, and web design.
Characterization of DNA Repair Processes Occurring at Non-Canonical DNA Structures
We will focus on the analysis of excision repair in G quadruplex (G4) DNA, a non canonical DNA structure formed in highly mutagenic genomic regions located in proto-oncogenes, immunoglobulin genes and telomeres. The one such structure is a Guanine quadruplex (G4) that forms when an array of guanine residues develop Hoogstein hydrogen bonds with each other to form a planar quartet. The G4 structure has been found to be stabilized by monovalent ion intercalation, such as potassium. Analysis of repair efficiency of an abasic site located at a known distance from the G4 structure was done by digestion of AP endonuclease and separation of the cleaved products on a polyacrimide gel. AP endonuclease cleavage was severely reduced when the AP site was in G4 loop compared to unstructured control. Having established a system to study repair of lesions located in G4 structures, we propose to extend these studies to a cell system. For this purpose, DNA plasmids containing a single abasic site in the G4 forming sequence from the c-myc gene will be transfected into human cells. Repair efficiency will be compared between the G4 containing plasmid and a plasmid containing single base substitutions in the c-myc sequence that prevent G4 formation. G4 formation will be monitored by a decrease in expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP), which is cloned downstream of the G4 forming sequence. Plasmids will be collected at increasing time points after transfection. An in vitro assay will be conducted to see the percentage of AP sites still remained.