I did my graduate work under the tutelage of Dr. Rosemary Stuart in the Department of Biological Sciences Department. My project was focused on understanding how mitochondrial ribosomes are assembled and function in a yeast cell. The mitochondrial ribosomes are important for the synthesis of proteins that are essential for cellular respiration, the defect of which can cause mitochondrial disorders. Towards this goal, we identified a novel subcomplex of ribosomal proteins that is not fully assembled yet stable in nature. We published this work in the peer-reviewed journal EMBO reports in September 2011 and I also gave a short talk on this finding at a scientific meeting focused on mitochondrial biology. This work was well appreciated in the field of mitochondrial ribosomes since our findings suggest that there might exist other subcomplexes of ribosomal proteins, identification of which may enlighten new ideas about the assembly order of proteins in mitochondrial ribosomes.
Being a graduate student at Marquette University was a great experience as the small community provided the opportunity to approach faculty members with ease for scientific discussions and their suggestions. In addition, the graduate students were encouraged to attend scientific meetings and workshops and I was fortunate to get funding from our department and graduate school to attend a workshop at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and also present my work at various scientific meetings.
The close mentor student relationship has trained me well to pursue my independent scientific career. Currently, I am a postdoctoral scholar at UCSF in Jayant Debnath’s lab where I plan to study the role of autophagy proteins in mitochondrial homeostasis in eukaryotic cells using yeast as well as mammalian cell lines as the model system. Coming from a lab where thinking critically and thinking about the big picture was an objective has helped me a lot to learn things faster in my new environment. In the future, I am looking forward to understanding the birth and death of mitochondria and how these processes may affect mitochondrial-based diseases.
My graduate training at Marquette University gave me a well-rounded biological sciences background (cell biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, and physiology) and a strong interest in neuroscience research. My dissertation research, under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Mynlieff, focused on mechanisms underlying the enhancement of L-type calcium current by GABAB receptor activation in the rat hippocampus, a phenomenon that has only been demonstrated in neonates. My work established the exact time course of L-type calcium current facilitation by GABAB receptor activation during the first two weeks of development in the rat hippocampus. In addition, I identified the functional significance of L-type calcium current modulation and the second messenger systems involved in this modulatory process. My studies primarily utilized whole-cell patch clamp recording from cultured hippocampal neurons isolated from rat pups of various ages. During the course of my graduate studies, I presented my research results at several local neuroscience meetings and Annual Meetings of the Society for Neuroscience. I am first author of two publications and several abstracts that resulted from my work. Having developed expertise in electrophysiological studies of synaptic mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level as a graduate student, I selected a postdoctoral position in the laboratory of Dr. Donna Gruol at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA. Here I can extend my technical and scientific expertise to a more
I am currently in my fourth year of graduate school in the Biological Sciences program, with an emphasis in genetics. My dissertation research is conducted in Dr. Edward Blumenthal’s lab, where we focus on the gene drop-dead in the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (the fruit fly). While we know that this gene is essential survival, we do not know its function or how the flies die. From my work, we have determined that drop-dead is a developmental gene and that the mutant flies have at least two causes of death: neurodegeneration and starvation. I presented this work at the Genetics Society of America Drosophila Research Conference. Upon graduation, I would like to pursue a postdoctoral position in Drosophila genetics and eventually obtain a position at the small teaching institution.