Yun Min Chang
"I applied to the University Scholars Program to connect with other successful undergraduate students who are conducting research in their fields so that I can become a part of a friendly circle of colleagues that will be there to support and help each other in all endeavors. I hope to learn about the diversity of research present at the University of Florida and learn from that diversity to become a better scientist and a student. I would like to present at a national poster session and hope to publish my results in a journal."
Biochemistry Analytical Chemistry Cancer Development of Novel Tools for Cancer research and treatment.
Academic and Other Awards
- University Scholars Program Scholarship (2011-2012)
- Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Extramural Scholar (Institut Pasteur de Lille, France (2011)
- ADAC Undergraduate Scholar (2011)
- Presidential Service Award (2011)
- J. Wayne Reitz Scholar (2011)
- AMSA Reitz Scholars Fencing Club
- Centerpoint Christian Fellowship
- Omicron Delta Kappa
International Medical Missions Equal Access Clinic St. Francis House Habitat for Humanities.
Hobbies and Interests
- Tennis, photography, music, and reading.
Modifying Cellular Properties using Artificial Aptamer-Lipid Receptors
Stem cells rely on their local environment or “niche” to survive and differentiate.1 Outside this niche, stem cells like hematopoietic stem (HS) can not function and do not produce the different lineages and re-establish the blood and immune systems. During bone marrow transplants, bone marrow stem cells are injected into a patient’s blood stream where they follow chemo-attractive signals to home to their stem cell niche. This homing process is not perfect, however, and many cells do not arrive at their proper locations, causing transplant failure. Increasing the homing ability of HS would relieve this problem. We hypothesize that adding an artificial receptor to the surface of stem cells, which recognizes a component of the stem cell niche could improve engraftment of the stem cells in their niche. Aptamer-lipid conjugates acting as artificial receptors quickly integrate into the cell membrane, allowing the cell to capture the aptamer’s target protein or cell on the cell membrane. Diacyllipid phosphoramidite, a major component of the aptamer-lipid conjugates, previously made by our lab, that has two long saturated fatty acid chains held together with a glycerol, can form micelles which can insert into cell membranes. In theory, any aptamer can be easily functionalized with the lipid, and when added to cells, the lipid will anchor the aptamer in the membrane making it capable of binding or capturing its target. Tenascin C, one of the proteins present in the matrix of the stem cell niche, plays a key role in homing hematopoietic cells to their niche. We hypothesize modifying HS cells with tenascin C-aptamer artificial receptors, will allow the cells to better find and remain in their niche for protection and reproduction after bone marrow transplants. As a proof of concept, we will be modifying a T-cell leukemia cell-line, CEM-CCRF, with these artificial receptors.