Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Damian Kim Rose Hills

In Silico Analysis of Bottle Cells, Fates, and Migration

During gastrulation in Xenopus, a specific group of cells located at the organizer, called Bottle Cells, undergo apical constriction and invagination, forming the dorsal lip of the blastopore. Immediately after, the neighboring cells involute inwards towards the anterior end of the embryo, forming the mesoderm and the archenteron. Although the behaviors of cells have been described, the genes that control the processes are only beginning to be discovered. The Harland Lab believes the process of Bottle Cells formation resembles aspects of cell invasion, metastasis, and immunological processes, so studying the underlying similarities may lead to new insights in the field. Through the use of various databases I will identify potential gene candidates that may be crucial in Bottle Cell migration, and I will carry out whole-mount in situ hybridization (WISH) and CRISPR/Cas9 experiments to validate my hypotheses, and hence identify the functions of these genes in relation to gastrulation and cell migration.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you Rose Hills Foundation for the opportunity to work in the Harland Lab this summer. I gained valuable experience in learning how to work with bioinformatics and genetics. I now have the skill set to continue this work during the Fall semester and these skills will be with me for the rest of my undergraduate career. I also learned how to evaluate drug tests on frog embryos and how to read through scientific literature, which will definitely help me with my upper division classes. Thank you so much!
Profile image of Damian Kim
Major: Molecular Chemical Biology
Mentor: Richard Harland
Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills Experience
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