Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Derek Moriyama L&S Sciences

The Functional Effects of Troponin I Phosphorylation in Slow and Fast Rat Skeletal Muscle

My research is looking into the effects of chemical modification of the skeletal muscle protein troponin I. The troponin complex is composed of three subunits (troponin I, C, and T) that combine to regulate the strength of skeletal muscle contraction. Past research has shown that modification of troponin I by specific enzymes can increase the amount of force heart muscles produce. My project will focus on the effects of such enzymes in skeletal muscles. Because the structure of troponin I in skeletal muscle varies slightly from the structure found in cardiac muscle, we expect to see a deviation in the effects on force production. My findings could help provide insight on the mechanism by which Beta-blocking drugs reduce muscle strength. Over the summer I will be testing to see if specific enzymes have effects on skeletal muscle. If these enzymes do act on skeletal troponin I, then I will test to see how such modifications effect the force production.

Message To Sponsor

This Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship will allow me to focus my summer on research. After working in various labs for two years, I have realized that the only way to get significant results is to fully commit oneself to the project at hand. By fully dedicating myself to my project, it will allow me to become extremely efficient in the protocols I am running and become familiar quantifying the data that I collect. I hope to use the summer to learn as much as I can from my mentors Dr. Steve Lehman and Sean Gross.
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Major: Integrative Biology
Mentor: Steven Lehman, Integrative Biology
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