Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Lucas Brenes Rose Hills

Investigating Age Related Decline of Germline Regeneration in an Amphipod Crustacean

Regeneration is an organisms ability to regrow and compensate for damage to specific cell lineages, and the extent to which it can occur varies greatly among species. My research focuses on the germline, which is the cell lineage entrusted with producing and maintaining gametes that contribute to the creation of offspring. The ability to regenerate the germline is predominately observed in species that can undergo total body plan regeneration such as flatworms and sponges. Parhyale hawaiensis however, is an amphipod crustacean that has been shown to regenerate its germline post-hatching despite not having full body plan regenerative capabilities. I am testing the limits of this novel process by ablating the germline in adults and observing if mature Parhyale retain this ability. In order to investigate this pathway I am using the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system and the NTR/Mtz cell ablation method to create a transgenic lineage that I will use to accurately target only germ cells in adult Parhyale. My goal is for my work to further clarify the roles of aging on regeneration and stem cell function in this alternative model for arthropod development.

Message To Sponsor

Getting involved in research has been the highlight of my undergraduate education, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to apply what I learn in the classroom to my own research in a laboratory setting. I would like to thank the Rose Hills Foundation for funding my research because this has allowed me to focus solely on my project this summer. Working in the lab without having to split my time studying for classes will help me complete my senior thesis as well as gain the experience of conducting research full time. I greatly appreciate the sponsors and program coordinators that allow undergraduates like myself to be funded and be a part of the research community at Cal.
Profile image of Lucas Brenes
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Nipam Patel, Molecular and Cell Biology
Sponsor: Rose Hills
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