Alyssa Tao

Developing a Single-Cell Immunofluorescence Assay of Phosphorylated LAT protein

The immune system is the bodys way of responding to invading disease-causing microbes and mutation-induced tumor cells, which have the potential to become cancer. Thus, the immune response protects against both infectious disease and cancer, and its regulation and activation are extremely important for maintaining health. T-cells play a central role in the immune response both in recognition and in downstream pathways that lead to microbe or tumor destruction. A protein that is essential in the signaling cascade of the T-cell is ZAP-70 (Zeta-chain-associated protein kinase 70). I will be developing an assay that can be used to quantify the level of protein expressed with protein activity at a single-cell level. This assay will be useful in studying how the protein is able to specifically catalyze its substrate, allowing us to better understand the immune response and develop novel cancer therapeutics that target specific pathways to modify the immune response.

Message to Sponsor

This summer research project is an opportunity for me to work independently and learn how to manage my own project. I'm looking forward to thinking critically about the research, planning my own experiments, and learning how to troubleshoot when faced with difficulties. Above all else, I look forward to experiencing what being a scientist is all about. This summer, I can apply what I've learned from classes to an actual laboratory where discoveries are made, and I hope to gather my own data, analyze it and achieve results.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Sponsor: Thye Fund
  • Mentor: John Kuriyan, Molecular and Cell Biology