HRP SU17-22: Research Opportunity with Dr. Kurutihalli Vishwanatha

Project Mentor

Dr. Kurutihalli Vishwanatha

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description The project is aimed at understanding the role of the proton pump (V-ATPase) in the development and maintenance of secretory pathways in neurons and neuroendocrine cells. The proton pump is responsible for the luminal acidification of the vesicles and also other organelles of the secretory and endocytic pathways like Golgi, endosomes and lysosomes. The activity of the proton pump is spatially and temporally regulated to support the biochemical actions of the enzymes of these pathways. The project will include investigating the macromolecular interactions of V-ATPase with other regulatory accessory proteins of the secretory and endocytic pathways of neuroendocrine cells.
Project Direction The project involves understanding the basic aspects of how development of neurons and neuroendocrine cells occur in postnatal brains. We will determine expression pattern of V-ATPase genes in neuronal tissues of embryonic and postnatal brains and analyze isoform function. We will further investigate the regulatory aspects of the proton pump by analyzing its interactions with other proteins. Dysregulation of this nanopump leads to many neurodegenrative disorders (AD & PD) and lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). By employing a variety of biochemical, genetic and cell biological approaches, we want to understand the role of V-ATPase in normal cellular physiology as well as disease processes.
Mentorship and Supervision The student will be working closely with me and other lab members over the course of the project. A weekly progress assessment will be carried out to discuss success and problems with the experiments and possible solutions to overcome the hurdles. I want to make it as a fun exercise helping the student to learn exciting aspects of molecular neuroscience. The student will be encouraged to participate in group meetings where we discuss about ongoing work in the lab and future plans which should provide opportunity to improve presentation skills. At the end of the project, the results will be compiled and shared with other folks as a short presentation.
Student Qualifications A self motivated student with basic molecular biology and biochemistry knowledge is encouraged to apply for this project. The project would include handling and working with mammalian cells, RT-PCR, SDS-PAGE, Western blotting and microscopy. Any prior experience in any of these techniques is a bonus. A fair knowledge of experimental science is preferred.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: 9-10 full-time weeks to be scheduled between May 15 and July 30, 2017
Schedule: To be determined, within the hours of 9am-6pm, M-F
Project Continuation Spring 2018
Academic Year Time Commitment 9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity using the form below. The application deadline is Friday, February 24, 2017.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, a brief statement of research interests, a brief statement of career interests, a brief description of hobbies, and contact information for 2-3 references.