Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Mansee Desai Rose Hills

Uncovering the Role of Global mRNA Degradation during the Gammaherpesvirus Lifecycle

I will be working with the Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68), a member of the Herpesviridae family consisting of over one hundred viruses capable of infecting a wide array of hosts. My gene of interest, muSOX, is a viral gene that targets and cleaves cytoplasmic host mRNAs and is the mouse analog of the SOX gene in the human gammaherpesvirus. A former graduate student constructed an MHV68 virus that is defective for host shutoff (HS). The HS virus has a single point mutation R443I and is incapable of targeting and degrading host cytoplasmic mRNAs. This summer, my job will be to confirm that phenotypes observed in the HS virus are due to only absence of host shutoff activity and not an unintended consequence of the R443I mutation. To do this, I will be creating another MHV68 virus that is defective for host shutoff and contains a different point mutation, L132F.

Message To Sponsor

This fellowship has allowed me to devote myself full-time to research and further explore my interests in virology without the stress of courses. It has driven me to the realization that I want to culminate my research efforts into a senior thesis. Not only has the program provided me with the financial means to stay in Berkeley and continue my research, but it has also refined my abilities as a researcher. I have learned that working in a lab setting requires collaboration, time management, facility with primary literature, troubleshooting, and most importantly, effective written and spoken communication. Thank you for this opportunity!
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Major: Integrative Biology, Global Poverty and Practice (minor)
Mentor: Briit Glaunsinger, Plant and Microbial Biology
Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
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