Past PREP Students

 

 

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rafael Talavera

PREP Program 

Lab Group: Doug Kellogg

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry and Moleculary Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz


 

David Coppage

PREP Program

Lab Group: Phil Crews

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Chemistry

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz


Fabiola Juárez Jaramillo

PREP Program

Lab Group: Manny Ares

PREP Research:

I study the regulation of the Spermidine/Spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) gene by alternative splicing, coupled to nonsense-mediated decay (NMD). High spermine (SSAT substrate) represses the splicing of a highly conserved, non-coding exon that contains premature termination codons. Depending on the spermine concentration in an in vitro model, exon RNA folds into one of two secondary structures. We hypothesize that this exon is a riboswitch that regulates splicing. I transfect Human Embryonic Kidney 293T cells with GFP or RFP constructs under control of the exon and treat them with a spermine analog, N1, N11-diethylnospermine to understand the function, structure, and trans-acting factors that influence this riboswitch exon in human cells.

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Los Angeles

 


Tiara Askew

PREP Program

Lab Group: William Sullivan & John Tamkun

PREP Research:

I am currently studying Wolbachia, a bacteria endosymbiont present in over 70% of arthropods and filarial nematodes and forms a variety of relationships with its host, ranging from parasitic to mutualistic.  It has recently received much attention in the press because of its ability to suppress Dengue and Zika viral replication. Preliminary studies indicate that some wild strains of Wolbachia specifically disrupt X chromosome structure in males. This effect is strikingly similar to well-known chromatin remodelers such as ISWI. My PREP research focuses on determining if Wolbachia is the cause of the abnormal chromosome structure, thus influencing gene expression.

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: Bowie State University

 


Lucero Rogel

PREP Program

Lab Group: Alan Zahler

PREP Research: 

The Zahler lab works to investigate the mechanism of RNA splicing by utilizing C. elegans as a model organism. Accurate splicing of pre-mRNA is a critical step in the gene expression pathway in eukaryotes carried out by a large ribonucleoprotein complex known as the spliceosome. The spliceosome consists of 5 RNAs (U1, U2, U4, U5, and U6) that assemble onto the pre-mRNA by recognizing conserved sequence elements that define the beginning and ends of introns, known as 5’ and 3’ splice sites. To facilitate the interactions between the pre-mRNA and the 5 RNAs, over 150 proteins are employed to aid in the process. Currently in the lab, I am working on elucidating the role of spliceosomal protein SNRP-27 in 5’ splice site selection by uncovering differential interactions that a mutant and wild type form of this factor have with the splicing machinery.

Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz

 


Jennyfer Tena

PREP Program 

Lab Group: Ted Holman 

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Chemistry

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz

 


Alexis Thornton

PREP Program

Lab Group: Angela Brooks

PREP Research:

The Brooks lab studies somatic mutations that affect mRNA splicing and cause changes to the transcriptome. My project involves using a computational method called expression-based variant impact phenotyping (eVIP) to functionally characterize cancer transcript variants using gene expression data. Specifically, I am trying to characterize what splicing changes occur with a mutation in the U2AF1 splicing factor, which has been identified in multiple cancer types. 

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of Florida

 


Daniel Vong

PREP Program 

Lab Group: Needhi Bhalla

PREP Research:

My research investigates the mechanisms that ensure proper chromosome segregation by characterizing a mutant version of PCH-2 that can bind, but not hydrolyze ATP (pch-2[e253Q]). Thus, I am analyzing meiotic events in prophase in this mutant background to determine if pch-2(e253Q) mutants behave differently or similar to complete loss of PCH-2 function in meiosis.

Undergraduate Major: Mechanical Engineering

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara



Alicia Romero

PREP Program 

Lab Group: Melissa Jurica 

PREP Research: The Jurica lab aims to elucidate human spliceosome structure and function. My project aims to purify the pre-spliceosome complex component, SF3B1 in a biologically active form using a cell-free translation system. Mutations to SF3B1 are implicated in a number of different cancers, and is the target of several anti-cancer drugs. Because SF3B1 has not been previously purified, the structure and active domains of this protein remain unknown. Successful purification of this protein will lead to a greater understanding of the function of SF3B1 in pre-mRNA processing, and add to our understanding of the anti-cancer drugs that target SF3B1. 

Undergraduate Major: Microbiology

Undergraduate Institution: California Polytechnic State University



Miguel Osorio

PREP Program

Lab Group: Seth Rubin

PREP Research: The Rubin lab focuses on the structural and biochemical properties of transcription factors and cell cycle proteins. My project specifically deals with the E2F family of transcription factors, which control cell cycle checkpoint DNA expression. E2F proteins have been extensively shown to interact with the retinoblastoma protein, a crucial tumor suppressor but not much more has been determined for other E2F interacting proteins. We intend to characterize these other interactions by testing possible binding of suspect proteins to E2Fs through nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and isothermal calorimetry (ITC). These techniques will allow us to test for binding and quantify the parameters and structure of association. These results can then lead to further studies to fully understand such important transcription factors.

Undergraduate Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Emphasis in Biochemistry

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Berkeley



Francisco Mendez-Diaz

PREP Program

Lab Group: Carrie Partch

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry/Chemistry

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, San Diego



 

Harmony Folse

PREP Program

Lab Group: Jeremy Sanford

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of South Florida



 

Maria Benitez-Jones

PREP Program

Lab Group: Alexander Sher

PREP Research:

Undergraduate Major: Physics & Applied Mathematics

Undergraduate Institution: University of New Mexico



Benjamin Sanchez-Sedillo

PREP Program

Lab Group: Chad Saltikov

PREP Research: Arsenite is one of the more toxic and prevalent forms of arsenic containing compounds in nature. Many microbes contain the cellular mechanisms that enable them to oxidize arsenite to arsenate, using the protein arsenite oxidase. My current research aim in the Saltikov lab is to understand how microbes, specifically Ectothiorhodospira sp. st. BSL-9,regulate arsenite oxidase in the presence of arsenite by using quantitative real-time PCR. The findings I am expecting to obtain will set the groundwork for future genetic and transcriptomic work with haloalkaliphilic phototrophs by determining how cells react to environmental cues.

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of New Mexico



Gustavo Chata
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Mascharak Lab

Research:

Undergraduate Major: Bioengineering

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Merced 


Aaztli Coria
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Zahler Lab

Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry

Undergraduate Institution: Maryville University


Oscar Fernandez
PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort)

Current Status: Second Year of Post Bac through NIH Supplement

Lab Group: Professor Lindsey Hinck

Undergraduate Major: Chemistry, BS

Undergraduate Institution: University of California Santa Cruz


Andrew Guzman

PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort)

Current Status: First year graduate student at Stanford University, Microbiology and Immunology Ph.D Program

PREP Lab Group: Sullivan Lab

PREP Research:

In the Sullivan lab my research focus is on the role of membrane addition during cytokinesis. In this process we focus on a protein, Nuf, involved in vesicle trafficking during the course of cell division. Through various molecular biology techniques we are able to visualize this protein in vivo to study the timing and the progression of its localization along with its association with various other proteins and cellular components.

Undergraduate Major: Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology 

Undergraduate Institution: University of California Santa Cruz 

Jasenia Hartman
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Smith Lab

Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biology, Language, and Linguistics 

Undergraduate Institution: Brandeis University


Aurelia Mapps

PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Hinck Lab

Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biomedical Science

Undergraduate Institution: Sam Houston State University


Tevin Hughley
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Hartzog Lab

Research: My studies are geared towards better understanding the transcription elongation factor, Spt4/Spt5. The complex has been shown to increase transcription rates in vitro, where a consensus RNA binding motif was discovered. We are now interested in investigating whether this binding motif is consistent in vivo. To study this, a putative RNA binding motif will be cloned into a reporter gene in yeast to examine whether the Spt4/Sp5-RNA binding increases transcription activity in comparison to similar RNA motifs that do not bind Spt4/Spt5.

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: Morehouse College


Noel Isaad
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Stone Lab

Research: Structural analysis of Telomerase

Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Cruz


Asis Lopez
PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort) 

Current Status: First Year graduate student at Tulane University, bioengineering Ph.D program

PREP Lab Group: Professor Nader Pourmand

PREP Research: Performs specialized research with Dr. Nader Pourmand relating to the UCSC Genome Technology Center specifically to optimize and automate protocols for library preparation for Next Generation Sequencing.  The modified automation protocols will minimize human error, eliminate cross contamination, increase reproducibility, and lower the cost.

Undergraduate Major: Bioengineering

Undergraduate Institution: University of California Santa Cruz


Annie Pham
PREP Program (2014-2015 Cohort)

Lab Group: Kellogg Lab

Research:

Undergraduate Major: Biology

Undergraduate Institution: California State University, Los Angeles


Stephanie Nystrom
PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort) 

Current Status: 1st year graduate student at UC Santa Cruz in the PhD Program for Biomedical Science and Engineering

PREP Lab Group: Tamkun Lab

PREP Research: Polycomb group repressors (PcG) and trithorax group activators (trxG) play critical roles in the control of cell fates by maintaining heritable states of gene expression during development. We use Drosophila melanogaster, as a model organism, to study these conserved chromatin remodeling factors and their role in regulating transcription and histone modification.

Undergraduate Major: Microbiology

Undergraduate Institution: San Jose State University


David Rey
PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort) 

PREP Lab Group: Jurica Lab

PREP Research: I am interested in understanding the spliceosome, a RNA-protein complex responsible for processing pre-mRNA into mRNA in a process known as splicing. This process is an essential step in gene expression and is vital to eukaryotic life; nearly all eukaryotic genes require splicing and misregulation of splicing has been linked to various neurodevelopmental disorders, cancers, and viral diseases.

My lab is interested in discovering the structure(s) of the spliceosome, which is key to understanding the mechanisms behind splicing. This is task is much more difficult than appears due to the size of the spliceosome, which consists of over 90+ proteins and snRNA, and the dynamic nature of the spliceosome, whose components are constantly altering their interactions and binding or disassociating at different time points throughout the splicing process. Ultimately, we hope to discover how the spliceosome is organized and how and why these structural rearrangements occur in order to not only elucidate the mechanisms behind pre-mRNA splicing but also provide a reference for better understanding the abnormal splicing that occurs in various human disease states.

Undergraduate Major: Biological Science

Undergraduate Institution: University of California Davis


Walter Fernando Uribe
PREP Program (2013-2014 Cohort) 

PREP Lab Group: Donald Smith Lab

PREP Research: We are working in the Mn (Manganese)  effects for an  early exposure in the development  brain and how those effects cause impairments in cognitive, behavioral and motor functions in children. We are using a rat model to determine how Mn (Manganese) exposure will produce reductions in the neurons morphology, specially in spine density, dendritic lenght and branching (Hypothesis). 

Undergraduate Major: Veterinary Medicine


 
 
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