Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Kathryn Li L&S Sciences

Coordination of Organelle Inheritance During Polarized Cell Division

During cell division, many cellular materials cannot be produced de novo and therefore must be partitioned equally between the two daughter cells. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, material produced in the mother cell must be actively transported to the growing daughter cell during cell division. Molecular pathways of how individual organelles are transported to the daughter cell have been well characterized. However, recent studies have shown that cellular organelles are largely interconnected, suggesting that they exist more as an extensive network rather than independent entities. My research aims to determine how organelle positioning and inheritance are orchestrated in order to maintain higher order organellar networks. By monitoring the redistribution of organelles throughout division using live cell imaging, I will determine the precise order in which organelles are transported from mother to daughter cells. With a better understanding of the temporal division, I can then interrogate the molecular mechanisms underlying this process by perturbing inheritance of specific organelles and examining the effects on organelle partitioning.

Message To Sponsor

Thank you to the Pergo Foundation for giving me this incredible opportunity to conduct independent research this summer. Working on my honors thesis project has taken me through the entire scientific process from forming questions to presenting results. I have deepened my understanding of the field, developed my problem-solving skills, and gained confidence as a scientist. This experience has solidified my desire to become a physician-scientist. I am excited to conduct more research in the future to help advance diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: David Drubin
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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