Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2009
Mentor: Woodring E. Wright
Department: Cell Biology
Room number: L4.210
Mail Code: 9039
Phone number: 82933
Project title: Telomerase alternative splicing
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable):
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) Basic Research
Brief Description of Project:
90% of the telomerase mRNA is spliced into non-functional forms. By creating mini-genes containing the alternatively spliced exons, we hope to create a model system that will allow us to study the mechanisms regulating this alternative splicing, and test a variety of approaches to manipulating it. Increasing the splicing to non-functional forms would be valuable in telomerase-inhibition cancer chemotherapies, while increasing the splicing fraction of functional mRNAs would be useful for extending the lifespan of stem cells for regenerative medicine.
Radhika Kainthla will perform RT-PCR to measure alternative splicing forms in tumor cells and normal cells transfected with the minigene. She will then examine changes in alternative splicing following co-transfection with 2-o-methyl RNA oligonucleotides complementary to sites predicted to influence alternative splicing. She will perform these experiments with the technical guidance of a postdoctoral fellow familiar with RT-PCR, but will be under my direct supervision.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
PhD mentor to M.D., Ph.D. student Dara Aisner (1997-2004)
Mentor to multiple PhD students and postdoctoral fellows.