Participant: PROMISE AGEP Research Symposium
Department: Biological Sciences
Institution: University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)
Anoxia mediated regulation of microtubule dynamics
Entering a hypometabolic stage is a survival means adopted by many organisms when faced with harsh conditions, such as low oxygen levels. However, despite the importance of this physiological adaptation little is understood about the pathways that trigger it. The goal of my research project has been to characterize this process in the zebrafish. Zebrafish embryos can survive up to 50 hours in anoxia (zero oxygen) by arresting development, a mechanism that conserves ATP and contributes to hypometabolism. During zebrafish epiboly, developmental arrest is achieved by pausing the spread of the blastoderm over the yolk. Epiboly is thought to be driven by the remodeling of the yolk microtubule network, which provides a pulling force on the blastoderm. Indeed, drugs that either stabilize or de-stabilize microtubules can cause a delay or blockage of epiboly, raising the possibility that signaling pathways that promote anoxia-induced arrest during epiboly may impinge upon the microtubule cytoskeleton. Based on these observations, we hypothesized that changes in microtubule stability under anoxia may be a key mechanism driving developmental arrest. To test this hypothesis, I used a transgenic line expressing double cortin-like kinase 2 (dclk2) fused with GFP, which allows indirect visualization of microtubules. 50% epiboly stage zebrafish embryos were subjected to an hour of anoxia or normoxia. Imaging was performed using confocal microscopy. Preliminary data suggest that the anoxia-subjected embryos show some disruption in the network of yolk microtubules compared to normoxic controls. Identifying the different molecules involved might better our understanding of anoxia-mediated arrest.
I am a pursuing a PhD in Biological Sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 2011 from Hawassa University in Ethiopia before moving to the US, where I obtained a second B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2016 from UMBC. I am a recipient of the LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate fellowship as well as an IMSD Meyerhoff fellow. My research interest lies in developmental, molecular and cellular biology.
GENERAL SUMMARY OF GRADUATE RESEARCH
I am currently doing rotations.
SELECTED LIST OF PRESENTATIONS AND PUBLICATIONS
- Summer Undergraduate Research Fest (SURF) 2015: Microwave lysing and fragmentation of Listeria Monocytogenes – Poster presentation
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