Tia Cheunkarndee

Investigating the Regulation of Atg40 Expression During Meiosis

Autophagy is a process of self-eating by which the cell targets specific cargo for degradation. While autophagy was initially believed to primarily be a response to stress or starvation, it is now known that it also plays important roles in cellular homeostasis and organismal development. This process can happen either non-selectively, where cargo is degraded randomly in bulk, or selectively, where degradation of a specific cargo, such as a protein aggregate, organelle, or pathogen, is specified by an autophagy receptor. In budding yeast, selective autophagy of the endoplasmic reticulum is mediated in part by the autophagy receptor Atg40. The work of my lab so far suggests that Atg40 expression is highly regulated, but it remains unknown what factors are controlling its expression. I aim to define the cis- and trans-acting factors required for Atg40 expression in meiosis. Identifying these regulatory factors will shed light on how dramatic changes in cell physiology are programmed into a gene regulatory network during transitions in cellular state.

Message to Sponsor

I am so appreciative to the Pergo Foundation for making this summer possible. Through this fellowship, I was able to fully immerse myself in my project, gaining the opportunity to carry out my research independently for the first time. Research has been a huge part of my time at Berkeley, but SURF allowed me to take this experience even further. I feel that I have truly grown as a scholar and scientist throughout these past few months as a result. I am excited to continue exploring the mechanisms of autophagy in meiosis during my senior year, in the form of my honors thesis!
  • Major: MCB and Public Health
  • Sponsor: Pergo Fund
  • Mentor: Gloria Brar