Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Spencer Christopher Wei L&S Sciences

Specific Histone Acetylation at the SOC1 locus in Arabidopsis thaliana

I will investigate the effects of specific histone acetylation on the locus of SOC1, a floral integrator gene. It is known that the acetylation status of chromatin modulates gene expression. I want to determine whether or not it is possible to modulate gene expression by specifically altering the histone acetylation status at the SOC1 locus using a fusion protein containing the DNA binding domain of OXS2, a transcription factor that specifically binds the SOC1 locus, and a histone acetyl transferase (HAT) in Arabidopsis thaliana. Following construction of a binary vector and introduction into plants, I will assess expression on a molecular and phenotypic basis, as upregulation of SOC1 will induce early flowering. If successful, this will enable locus-specific manipulation of transcription.

Message To Sponsor

This fellowship allows me to continue my research full-time over summer. In doing so, it allows me to gain valuable experience in the lab and prepare me for graduate school, as this will be a likely setting for my studies. During the academic year I do research part-time, but it is an entirely different experience to work full-time in a lab. In addition, it is exciting to see my research progress, which I expect it to substantially during the summer. I am very excited to see what the end-result of my research will be and furthermore, to see what final product I am able to create.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: David Ow, Plant and Microbial Biology
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