SURF

Christina Shih

Organismal Effects of Oncogenic Stress in Drosophila

I intend to study how oncogenic stress weakens and kill animals using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, because currently it is not clear how and why cancer kills animals. It is known that cancer patients suffer with cachexia, the major loss of fat tissue and skeletal muscle mass, which is a significant factor in increased mortality rate in cancer patients. I have already established a working system by expressing an oncogene Ras in the intestinal stem cells of adult flies to induce cancer. In order to manipulate additional genes in different tissues affected in cachexia, such as fat cells, I will generate a new system. Using this new system, I will perform genetic screens with over-expression of Ras in intestinal stem cells and gene knockdown in chachexia related tissue to better understand how tumor developments lead to the debilitating effects on animals.

Message to Sponsor

I am very grateful and honored to have been chosen as a SURF fellow. This opportunity given to me by the Pergo Foundation will allow me to grow as a scientist and researcher by working full-time on an exciting independent project, something that I have not been able to do as a student during the school year. I look forward to developing critical thinking and planning skills from the many challenges I will face and interacting with other fellows to exchange ideas and tips. Furthermore, I will continue my research during the school year which will all be incorporated into my senior thesis.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Public Health
  • Sponsor: Pergo SURF fellow
  • Mentor: Iswar Hariharan, Molecular and Cell Biology