Meet Rohit George
Graduation Year: May 2017
Field of Study: Biophysics
The Cytoplasmic Linker Associated Proteins (CLASP) family of proteins and the XMAP215/Dis1 family of proteins are known to be key regulators of microtubules dynamics. The Tumor Overexpressed Gene (TOG) domains of the S. cerevisiae Stu2 protein in the XMAP215/Dis1 family have been shown to bind preferentially to a ‘curved’ conformation of tubulin over tubulin in the microtubule lattice, but it is still unknown how the TOG domains of the S. cerevisiae Stu1 protein from the CLASP family interact with and effect microtubule dynamics. The approach to investigating this includes using Differential Interference Contrast (DIC) Microscopy Assays to observe changes in microtubule dynamics (namely elongation rate and catastrophe frequency) when various proteins, including Stu1 TOG1-TOG2 and mutants of it, are added to the reaction mixture. These dynamics assays have indicated that Stu1 TOG domains together, when at equimolar concentrations with αβ-tubulin, play a role in decreasing elongation rate of microtubules and reducing frequency of catastrophe.
Going into the Green Fellows Program, I was very excited for a change in pace; going from a class schedule to a full work day. The first few weeks were a huge adjustment period as I was not used to working full-time. I also had to adjust because of the caliber of the research being done at UT Southwestern. A lot was expected of me, so I had to learn a lot of information in a short amount of time in order for me to start doing experiments on my own. The amazing thing, though was once I got into the swing of things, everything became much more enjoyable. Another incredible part of the Green Fellowship experience was having the opportunity to attend seminars given by leading researchers in their respective fields from all over the world. Learning about the latest breakthroughs (even though much of the content was far too complex for me to understand) gave me insight into how vast and expansive research is and also gave me a further appreciation for research as a whole as I was able to see the results that others achieved after all of the hard work and long hours they put into their research. Overall, my experience in the Green Fellowship was incredibly eye-opening and taught me a lot about myself, about full-time research, and about microtubules!
One thing I learned from my PI, which I will likely never forget, is to always know why you are doing what you are doing at all times.
One thing I learned from my PI, which I will likely never forget, is to always know why you are doing what you are doing at all times. Simply following guidelines and procedures blindly works sometimes, but when one change occurs, if you don't know the purpose of each step, you will not know how to adjust accordingly and could make mistakes without knowing it, costing you time and resources. Knowing the 'why' not only helps prevent mistakes, it makes the work you are doing more interesting and much easier to remember should you need to repeat it.