- PhD Candidate, Cellular and Molecular Biology program
- National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow
- BA, Baylor University, 2015
- Determining signaling kinetics in vivo using a small-molecule inhibitor
- Identifying the source of stress-dependent growth defects in yeast
- Investigating the differences in cross-talk among several strains of yeast
Cells must respond to a diverse set of intracellular and extracellular signals in order to thrive in a constantly changing environment. In order to properly respond stimuli, cells must be able to (1) amplify signals, (2) respond quickly and precisely, (3) enact long-term changes, (4) integrate multiple signals, and (5) stop the response. Within the cell, several interrelated Mitogen Activated Protein Kinase (MAPK) cascades allow cells to effect such a response by relaying the signal step-wise through a series of protein kinases. Improper signaling through MAPK pathways is disastrous for the cell, and has been linked extensively to several human diseases, including many cancers.
The High Osmolarity Glycerol (HOG) MAPK pathway in the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevesiae is conserved in mammalian cells and provides a simplified system for studying the kinetics and components of MAPK cascades in vivo and in vitro. The HOG pathway has the advantage of being easily activatable with a consistent adaptive response. This means that the HOG pathway can be used to study both the activation and deactivation of the pathway with simple experimental procedures. I am using live-cell imaging in microfluidic devices to study activation of this pathway in yeast in order to elucidate fundamental principles of signal transduction cascades.