Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Emily Zhao L&S Sciences

Functional Genetic Analysis of Foxc1 on Tooth Regeneration


Understanding the genetic basis of organ regeneration remains a central challenge in the field of developmental biology. Teeth are a classic model for organogenesis, since many homologous ectodermal organs (e.g., teeth and hair) follow similar patterns of development and regeneration. Threespine stickleback fish are a powerful model organism for studying tooth regeneration in vertebrates because they possess the ancestral dental phenotype of polyphyodonty, in which teeth are continuously replaced throughout adult life. Past research has shown that Foxc1 regulates Bmp6, a gene important for viability, growth, and tooth patterning in threespine stickleback fish, and maintaining quiescence, a period of rest, in mouse hair follicle stem cells. My project aims to study whether Foxc1a and Foxc1b are required for regulating tooth regeneration in threespine sticklebacks. I hypothesize that Foxc1a and Foxc1b play homologous roles in reestablishing quiescence in fish tooth stem cells as Foxc1 does in past studies of mouse hair follicle stem cells.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank the SURF program and my donor for providing me with the opportunity to delve into my research interests this summer. I am so excited to immerse myself in this research project, collaborate with the other fellows in workshops, and grow my confidence and capabilities as a scientist. Thank you to my sponsor for making this all possible!
Profile image of Emily Zhao
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Craig Miller
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
Back to Listings
Back to Donor Reports