B.Sc. in Molecular Biology, Anthropology, and Japanese, 2006, University
of Pittsburgh Research
Research at TSRI:
My approach integrates mutagenesis with selective amplification using mutagenic deoxynucleotide analogs during the continuous in vitro evolution of RNA ligase ribozymes. With these mutagenic analogs, mutations are introduced in every iteration of selection and amplification, so that diversity is constantly maintained. Using this integrated mutagenesis technique, I have demonstrated the emergence of an adaptive phenotype from a clonal starting population. I am currently using high-throughput Illumina sequencing technology to profile the mutation frequency and spectrum of the method, and hope to later use high-throughput sequencing to monitor evolving populations as mutations are introduced and selected.
My research aims to apply integrated mutagenesis to other laboratory evolution projects to enable the discovery of new sequence motifs and allow investigation of evolutionary dynamics. With the new mutagenesis method, I will carry out more exhaustive explorations of sequence space in the search for functionally significant ribozymes. I am also using integrated mutagenesis to examine the extent to which neutral mutations determine evolutionary trajectories. In both directions of research, I plan to couple integrated mutagenesis with an additional laboratory evolution technology – in vitro compartmentalization - to investigate the importance of environmental isolation in driving molecular change and to facilitate selection of trans-acting, intermolecular phenotypes.
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