Thuy Co

 Thuy Co
Mentor: Dr. Daiqing Liao
College of Medicine
"Getting involved with research is a great opportunity for me to gain a firm foundation in conducting experiments independently and writing scholarly publications. I also want to learn more about molecular biology of cancer, particularly the regulation of p53 in development of cancer and the cell-biological functions of the two enzymes lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) and deacetylases (HDACs) in cancer therapy. My goal is to become a better candidate for professional school by strengthening my skills in doing research and broadening my knowledge in the field of biological sciences."




Business Administration

Research Interests

  • Molecular Biology of Cancer
  • Neurobiology
  • Psychology

Academic Awards

  • N/A


  • N/A


  • Shands Emergency Department
  • Shands Surgical Oncology Department

Hobbies and Interests

  • Traveling
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Cello

Research Description

Regulation of p53
The general goal of this project is to study MDM2 level in response to stress, which plays an important role in molecular biology of cancer. MDM2 is a protein that is encoded by the MDM2 gene. MDM2 is a negative regulator of the p53 tumor suppressor. We already know the functions of MDM2 as an E3 ubiquitin ligase, which acts to control the growth-suppressive function of p53. In unstressed cells, MDM2 acts like a guard to keep the level of p53 stable and maintain it at homeostasis state. When the cells are under stress, for instance DNA damage or hypoxia, p53 transcription is up regulated, resulting in high level of p53 proteins. At this point, those cells can go into growth arrest, DNA repair, or even apoptosis depending on the “situation” of the cells. Hence, in contrast to p53 level is much higher in stressed cells than in unstressed cells. I hypothesize that MDM2 level decreases in response to stress. In order to test my hypothesis, I will irradiate membrane of Xenopus oocytes expressing MDM2. Then, I will use Nothern blot to determine the level or MDM2 RNA expression. I will the plot the level or MDM2 RNA against the different intensity of stress induced. Other techniques involved are transcription reactions of MDM2 mRNA, and injecting these mRNA into Xenopus oocytes. This study will yield information on the regulation of p53-MDM2 interaction in response to stress. I will learn whether MDM2 is strictly down regulated in stressed cells, and this could have relevance to the conditions in which normal cells turning into tumor cells.