Christina Shih L&S Sciences
Organismal Effects of Oncogenic Stress in Drosophila
I intend to study how oncogenic stress weakens and kill animals using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, because currently it is not clear how and why cancer kills animals. It is known that cancer patients suffer with cachexia, the major loss of fat tissue and skeletal muscle mass, which is a significant factor in increased mortality rate in cancer patients. I have already established a working system by expressing an oncogene Ras in the intestinal stem cells of adult flies to induce cancer. In order to manipulate additional genes in different tissues affected in cachexia, such as fat cells, I will generate a new system. Using this new system, I will perform genetic screens with over-expression of Ras in intestinal stem cells and gene knockdown in chachexia related tissue to better understand how tumor developments lead to the debilitating effects on animals.