Research Department: Pediatrics
Graduation Date: December 2017
Abstract: Germ Cell Tumors (GCTs) are neoplasms that originate from pluripotent embryonic germ cells and occur in testis, ovary or extragonadal sites in infants, children, and adults. While testicular germ cell tumors are the most common cancer in young men, the signaling pathways involved in the development of germ cells in GCTs are not completely understood. Previously the Amatruda lab developed a zebrafish model of GCT, arising from defective Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling. To further understand the role of the BMP pathway and the genes involved in tumorigenesis, we used the CRISPR/Cas9 system in a zebrafish model to knockout genes that have been implicated in both human and zebrafish GCTs and to study the resulting phenotypes. This will lead to a better understanding of human GCT and could contribute to the development of more effective therapies.
What does research mean to you?
Although I had been working in a lab at UTD I wanted to gain more experience working full-time on my own project with as much independence as an undergraduate could possibly have. That’s exactly the kind of experience the Green Fellowship gave me.
Tell us about your journey.
Before the program started I knew very little about my project and even less about what role I’ll have. I was interested in research, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to do it as a part of my career. As the semester progressed, I became very interested in my project and also in the other projects being worked on in the lab. At the end of the fellowship, I realized that the program was very intensive but also taught me very much about my area of research and also about designing different experiments presenting research.