Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Henry Chen

Quantifying Sleep-Related Gene Expression in Cassiopea Jellyfish

This summer, I will work towards understanding why Jellyfish exhibit sleep-like behavior from a gene-expression standpoint. The frequency in which genes are expressed can give us insight into the biological mechanisms in many organisms. For the Cassiopea jellyfish, I intend to explore the genetic basis behind sleep by measuring how certain genes, specifically sleep-related genes, are expressed. So far, I have used cloning and sequencing techniques to confirm the presence of genes such as those involved in monitoring sleep/wakefulness, stress responses, and biosynthesis. Over the summer, I plan on building on this foundation by using quantitative PCR to understand how the expression of these genes may vary from a wakeful vs sleep-like state or from a rested vs sleep deprived state. By understanding sleep in an organism from an early branching lineage, such as the Cassiopea, we can have a stronger understanding of the primitive functions of sleep across animals.

Message To Sponsor

Research has played such a huge role in my undergraduate experience this past year and I'm thankful to now have the financial means necessary to continue pursuing it this summer. Summertime gives me the opportunity to devote more time and truly immerse myself in my research project and I wouldn't have this opportunity if it weren't for your support. Thank you so much!
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology: Neurobiology
Mentor: Richard Harland
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