Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Di Lu L&S Sciences

Investigation of Handel Gene in Drosophila Melanogaster Involved in Synaptic Transmission

From reflex to philosophical reflection, the entire spectrum of neural activity relies on the mechanisms of neuron-to-neuron communication, or synaptic transmission. Thus any defects in this process causes catastrophic results in an organism. A mutant of the fruit fly gene Handel, involved in synaptic transmission, was recently isolated in the lab. The mutation causes lethal synaptic transmission disruption. This summer, I will use immunohistochemical staining methods to determine the general aspect of synaptic transmission that is malfunctioning. I will also use deletion, duplication, and recombination mapping to make considerable headway toward finding the location of the gene which causes the mutation. This could increase our understanding of synaptic transmission as well as of higher order nervous system function and dysfunction.

Message To Sponsor

Everyone knows the SURF program is an unparalleled opportunity to perform concentrated research all summer long without worrying about financial burden. But what I have learned through this program outside of the lab is equally precious. Through the application process, I learned how to write quality grant proposals, a necessity for any scientist. Through meetings with the program advisors, I got a feel for the logisitical side of working in academia or doing research. There too, I became friends with other fellows who have similar interests and circumstances that I wouldn't have met in lab or in class. When I decided to come to Berkeley, an alumni told me that being here would be a social education as well as an academic one. The SURF program exemplifies that very well and I feel extremely lucky to be a part of it.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Ehud Isacoff, Molecular and Cell Biology
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