Mitosis and meiosis are the most exciting and elaborate processes that occur during the life of dividing cells. The mitotic and meiotic divisions must perfectly distribute a complete set of chromosomes to each daughter cell. Defects in these processes lead to aneuploidy and possibly serious harm to the organism. Our lab studies meiosis in oocytes because of the importance to reproductive health. In humans, aneuploidy is a leading cause of spontaneous abortions and infertility in women. If aneuploids do survive, they manifest with diseases such as Down’s, Turner’s or Klinefelter’s syndrome. Research in my lab has the goal of understanding the mechanisms that ensure chromosome segregation occurs accurately in oocytes of the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. One of our approaches is to identify genes that are required for meiotic chromosome segregation. These genes have been found to facilitate key aspect of meiosis such as chromosome pairing, DNA repair, spindle assembly and chromosome segregation. The student will contribute to this project by identifying and characterizing a gene important for chromosome segregation. These genes are identified based on their phenotype: when we knock one of them out (with a mutation or RNAi), there are defects in meiosis and fertility. Using molecular genetic techniques and high resolution microscopy, the student will characterize the defects in a mutant to determine the function of the gene and how it interacts with other meiotic proteins. These results, combined with a knowledge of the protein sequence, will provide insights into how chromosomes are segregated accurately during meiosis.
Applicant must be LSAMP eligible.
The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program at Rutgers University-New Brunswick is a non-medical science program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program is designed to increase the interest, retention, graduation, and success of students from racial and ethnic groups historically underrepresented in non-medical (STEM) fields (i.e., Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Native American/Alaskan, Pacific Islander)
to view more information about this project.