John Wang

Examining the Differential Levels of Pax/Expression in Muscle Stem Cells vs. Progenitor Cells

Muscle fibers are lined with small, non-fiber cells that reside between fiber bundles. These cells are called satellite cells. They are muscle stem cells which repair muscle upon injury. Satellite cells are important for use in stem cell therapies as they can self-renew and maintain their numbers following transplantation. Pax7 is a protein that has previously been reported to be uniquely expressed in satellite cells. As such, it is often used to verify the identity of cells collected from whole muscle biopsies. My project aims to show that Pax7 is not expressed in satellite cells but is instead expressed in more differentiated myoblast cells. I also aim to show that many different cell types transcribe the Pax7 gene without necessarily translating it. The results are expected to address existing discrepancies in currently reported experimental results from studies that depend on Pax7 to identify satellite cells.

Message to Sponsor

Most of the science classes at Berkeley focus on theory. In classes, we are taught the various facts and models that have stemmed out of knowledge garnered through research. Some classes even attempt to address experimental design. However, there is a big difference between thinking What if? and actually following through on those thoughts by pursuing laboratory research. My SURF award provides me with the opportunity to dedicate an entire summer to research, without having to worry about taking on another job to pay the bills or make the rent. It allows me to focus on applying the knowledge Ive garnered in classes to practical use and allows me to experience and learn from the discrepancies between theory and practice.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Irina Conboy, Bioengineering