Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Xuchen Hu L&S Sciences

Evaluating the Role of Trehalose in Desiccation Tolerance in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae

Desiccation tolerance is an organisms ability to withstand removal of as much as 95% of its intracellular water and be able to resume normal metabolism upon rehydration. However the molecular basis for tolerance is not completely understood. Budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is one of the rare species that exhibit this amazing trait and is an excellent organism to study desiccation tolerance. Upon desiccation, yeast, like other desiccation tolerant organisms, accumulates the disaccharide trehalose. However, mutants that are unable to make trehalose exhibit significant tolerance, suggesting the existence of other molecules that help promote tolerance. My project this summer is to identify additional molecules that cooperate with trehalose and to examine the roles of these genes in desiccation tolerance. This research will provide an understanding of the molecules necessary for tolerance, which can used in biomedical applications, like safely desiccating red blood cells for long term transportation and storage.

Message To Sponsor

Being chosen as a SURF fellow is a great honor and I am very thankful for the opportunity to continue my scientific pursuits. This fellowship allows me to conduct research on my own project that I've become passionate in over the last year, and it also gives me a chance to grow as a scientist and researcher. Furthermore, this summer will provide me with challenges and experiences, as well as strong support from my mentor, my peers, and everyone in the SURF community that will prepare me for my future science career.
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Developmental Genetics
Mentor: Douglas Koshland, Molecular and Cell Biology
Sponsor: Thye Fund
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