Tianzan Zhou

Study of truncated mRNAs using natural genetic variation in yeast

My project concerns the regulation of transcription. Transcription is the process by which a DNA sequence is transcribed into an RNA sequence. This RNA sequence then gets translated into a protein, which is the basic machinery of life. Therefore, the mechanisms by which transcription is regulated are very important to understand. We have evidence for a novel mechanism that takes place during transcription and utilizes the creation of truncated, nonfunctional RNA transcripts of a gene to repress the formation of long, functional transcripts of that same gene. We do not yet know the mechanism that determines this phenomenon. I am analyzing the entire yeast genome for genes whose expressions correlate with the appearance of short transcripts to try and pinpoint the genes that regulate this observation. This will help us understand the process of transcription in a greater detail, and also the ways in which it can malfunction in common diseases such as cancer.

Message to Sponsor

This research opportunity provides me with a unique chance to focus on my research full-time, without the distraction of assignments and exams. This will allow me to think about my project 24/7, and really immerse myself into the research world. It also gives me a taste of what working full-time in a research environment feels like, and educates my future plans regarding research and a career in science.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Rachel Brem, Molecular and Cell Biology