Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jillian Wilson Rose Hills

Role of EGR1 in the Cardiac Neural Crest

Multipotent neural crest cells have the capability to differentiate into derivatives. By studying the gene regulatory networks that precisely control their development, we can discover how these networks are utilized in repair mechanisms and how they malfunction in relation to disease. Using the chicken embryo as a model organism, I will focus on cells that migrate into the heart and study the role of transcription factor Egr1 in their development. Egr1 is a BMP-responsive gene, but how is it regulated in the neural crest? I will look at the gene expression of Egr1 by labeling its RNA transcripts using a technique called hybridization chain reaction. This will tell us where the gene is present within the developing embryo. To understand when the gene is first expressed, I will look at different stages of embryonic development. Once I identify the expression pattern of Egr1, I will knock it out using CRISPR-Cas9 to see what changes occur within the hindbrain and/or the neural crest. I hope that my project will contribute to further understanding of the cardiac neural crest.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to thank my donor for funding my summer project; I am very grateful for this opportunity to pursue focused research. I am excited about the experiments I will perform and the new skills that I will learn. Thank you so much for your support!
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Megan Martik
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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