Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Emma Teng L&S Biological Sciences

Connecting bottle cells and melanoma through the Wnt pathway

Melanoma is an impactful disease that causes the death of two people in the United States every hour. Often, cancerous mutations occur in genes crucial for development. During gastrulation, the process that forms the primitive gut, several movements resemble those of melanoma cells. One of these events is the formation of teardrop-shaped bottle cells and tissue ingression towards the anterior end of the embryo. The actin cytoskeleton is known to be responsible for shape change (Lee & Harland, 2006) and intracellular effectors allude to the mechanisms involved (Popov et at., 2018). However, the regulation and signaling pathway which controls bottle cell behavior has not been explored. Interestingly, cytoskeletal movement, characteristics, and the shape of the bottle cells are very similar to those observed in melanoma cells. This proposed project aims to understand how bottle cells and melanoma may utilize similar signaling cascades through qualitative and functional approaches.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for your support! It's truly been my life's dream to pursue research as a career. I'm so grateful to be able to make strides towards that dream thanks to your generous donation. I can't wait to see what exciting discoveries lay ahead in the field of developmental biology.
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Richard Harland
Sponsor: Pergo
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