Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Khushi Kethana

Clonal Fate Mapping of the Sinoatrial Node

I study how the intrinsic pacemaker region of the heart, the sinoatrial node (SAN), develops by mapping out the lineage of pacemaker progenitor cells in embryonic mouse hearts. A drug-activated enzyme puts together the front and back ends of fluorescent genes (that were previously inserted into the mouse line) during mitosis, the process in which body cells divide and replicate. If the front and back ends of the fluorescent genes are successfully put together in a cell, that cell fluoresces and all of its progenitors will fluoresce. Thus we can see where the cells in the SAN originate from, which parts of the SAN develop first, and can isolate cells to analyze their genetic and epigenetic profiles, ultimately determining potential genetic causes for how SAN cells differentiate from their progenitors.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you so much for supporting this opportunity to continue summer research in my lab. My time in this lab has taught me so much about what it means to think and act like a scientist as well as conceptual knowledge that I can't get in my courses. I'm excited to learn more with your support and contribute to this project in a meaningful way.
Major: Molecular & Cell Biology and Neuroscience
Mentor: Vasanth Vedantham, UCSF School of Medicine
Sponsor: Holmes Olson Fund
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