Marina Nasrin Sharifi

Mutations affecting carotenoid biosynthesis in the photosynthetic model organism Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

I am characterizing a set of Chlamydomonas insertional mutants defective in carotenoid biosynthesis using pigment analysis, genetic crosses, and TAIL-PCR to connect mutations in specific genes with specific blocks in carotenoid biosynthesis,with the goal of elucidating in detail one or more steps in the Chlamydomonas carotenoid biosynthesis pathway. A better understanding of this is not only important for the understanding of the process of photosynthesis in general, but also in the comparison of carotenoid biosynthesis in the model organism Chlamydomonas with that in higher plants, possibly revealing interesting evolutionary and functional relationships between the genes involved in Chlamydomonas carotenoid biosynthesis and those involved in the carotenoid biosynthesis of other photosynthetic organisms.

Message to Sponsor

Im looking forward to this opportunity to concentrate full-time on my research without the distractions of work or classes, something I havent been able to do in the past. I think that the uninterrupted lab time will allow me to get a better sense of the overall shape of my project, as Ill be able to accomplish much more in a more coherent manner, which I am hoping will also make trouble-shooting easier. Finally, I will be able to participate fully in the day-to-day life in the lab, which will be productive as Ill have more opportunities to discuss my work with other lab members, always a good source of suggestions and advice, especially when a project gets bogged down.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, German
  • Mentor: Krishna Niyogi, Plant and Microbial Biology