Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jenny Lai L&S Sciences

Characterization of novel genes involved in kidney development and function

Despite the ever increasing number of identified genetic diseases, many of the genes associated with these human disorders are still either poorly understood or have not yet been functionally described during development. My work will pursue the characterization of three genes: scinderin (scin), angiotensin-I-converting-enzyme (ace), and clustered mitochondria cluA homolog (cluh), which are all expressed in the kidney according to preliminary findings in the Harland lab. Using Xenopus as a model, I will study the role of these three genes in nephrogenesis and kidney function through a series of experiments including loss of function through CRISPR/Cas9 technology, gain of function through overexpression, and embryo transplants and in vivo imaging. Results of this research could provide a priori clues about the potential etiology of the human conditions they are involved in, and perhaps offer a model to further investigate unknown aspects and treatments of their associated diseases.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you to the Pergo Fund for supporting my research this summer. This summer I was able to learn many research techniques and become more confident in myself as a researcher. I also obtained great results from my experiments, and am very excited to continue with this project and work on my thesis. I am truly grateful for this experience and will apply what I have learned into my future and career.
Profile image of Jenny Lai
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Richard Harland
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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