HRP SU17-5: Research Opportunity with Dr. Arthur Gunzl

Project Mentor

Dr. Arthur Gunzl
Genetics and Genome Sciences

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description We work on trypanosomes which cause neglected tropical diseases (our strain is not pathogenic to humans). We are interested in how gene expression in these single cell eukaryotes is different from human cells. We have identified a number of proteins that seem to be parasite-specific gene expression factors. Project options will be to silence a gene of such a factor and analyze its effect on trypanosome viability and gene expression, or to express the factor with a tag in the parasite and determine whether it functions in a protein complex.
Project Direction We have been characterizing the parasite’s transcription and RNA processing machineries, e.g. transcription factors and the spliceosome. The difficulty is that trypanosomes are so divergent from yeast and humans that many factors cannot be identified by sequence comparisons and require functional analysis. While a thorough understanding of a pathogen’s gene expression pathways will help to manage its long term control, the focus of this research is to identify factors that may be directly targeted by chemotherapy.
Mentorship and Supervision
  • The student will meet with me regularly (at least twice a week) to discuss the project and scientific background including literature (reading assignments).
  • The student will be assigned to an experienced co-worker who will guide him/her through wet-lab experiments.
  • I will be available daily for discussing results/data and for trouble shooting.
  • The student will formally present his/her results in a weekly lab meeting.
  • The student will be required to summarize his/her results at the end of the internship in written form.
  • The student will have the opportunity to attend our departmental seminar and works-in-progress seminar series.
Student Qualifications
  • – Background in Molecular Biology
  • – Some level of wet lab experience
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: 9-10 full-time weeks to be scheduled between May 8 and August 25, 2017
Schedule: To be determined in consultation with the selected student, within the parameters of M-F, 9am-6pm
Project Continuation Fall 2017, 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 a resume or CV, a brief statement of research interests, a brief statement of career interests, and contact information for 2 references.