SURF

Katrina Olson

How is gene expression controlled during development? Identifying minimal promoters in Ciona Intestinalis

Proper gene expression relies on the precise communication between promoters and enhancers. It is not well understood how promoters and enhancers work to ensure the expression of the right genes at the right time. I plan to create minimal functional promoters in order to find the smallest unit of the promoter capable of driving gene expression in Ciona intestinalis, a sea squirt. Currently, the promoters used are longer than the core functional promoter and therefore may contain other, unknown information. With a minimal promoter of about 100 base pairs, it will be easier to analyze the necessary and conserved sequences in the promoter that allow the promoter and enhancer to communicate.

Message to Sponsor

While I was an undergraduate at Berkeley I started my research into the inner workings of gene expression and regulation, and without the SURF/Rose Hills fellowship this journey would have been cut short. Due to the generosity of the Rose Hills Foundation, I will be able to continue this research after graduation and because of that I will be able to take the time I need to fully explore the subject. By the end of the summer I hope to have learned if I want to pursue research as a career.
  • Major: Micro and Cellular Biology
  • Sponsor: SURF Rose Hills fellow
  • Mentor: Mike Levine, Molecular and Cell Biology