I will be continuing a project started by a previous undergraduate researcher which consists of investigating the role of certain genes in the fertilization of Caenorhabditis elegans necessary for sperm capacitation that can be compared to a similar complex in humans. The gene we will be focusing on, M05D6.2, is an ortholog for human t-complex protein 11 (TCP11) which is a testis specific gene product. TCP11 is hypothesized to be essential for proper sperm activation in mammals. Men with mutations in the M05D6.2 ortholog have fertility issues. By understanding the function of this gene, we could help these patients find better treatment or determine if they need to seek assisted reproductive technologies to have children.
Previously used techniques in the lab include RNAi interface which has revealed that males exposed to the treatment show a decrease in fertility while hermaphrodites exposed to the same treatment have no reduction in fertility. Using my background as a technician in the Biology department, a research assistant in a pathology lab at the University of Pennsylvania , and working with my supervisor I plan to present my work at the annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference in Spring 2018 and publish my results in a peer-reviewed journal when it is complete. My goals include being able to participate in undergraduate research until graduation from Pace where I then will apply to attend graduate school with a PhD track. Research will fit into these goals because it is my ultimate career goal when I finish schooling.