HRP SU23-31: Research Opportunity with Dr. Blanka Rogina

Project Mentor

Dr. Blanka Rogina
Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description The Indy (I’m Not Dead Yet) gene encodes a plasma membrane citrate transporter. We have shown that reduced expression of the Indy gene extends longevity in fruit flies by altering energy metabolism and preserving metabolic homeostasis. INDY regulates citrate levels, which occupies a central role in the regulation of glycolysis, lipid synthesis, and energy flux in the mitochondrion. Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive, age-associated neurodegenerative disease characterized by cognitive impairment, and other mental functions. AD is associated with altered metabolism and impaired mitochondrial function. We are testing our working hypothesis that preservation of metabolic and mitochondrial function associated with Indy reduction will ameliorate metabolic imbalance associated with AD. We are using a fly model of human AD, which contains an amyloid precursor protein mutation associated with early onset AD in a Swedish pedigree (APPswe), and are investigating the effects of Indy reduction on metabolic, transcriptomic, and epigenetic changes associated with AD.
Project Direction Since no current treatments for AD are successful, there is a critical need to identify an intervention that would ameliorate AD pathogenesis. Our preliminary studies have provided exciting evidence that we have a fly model of human AD. Thus, we are in a unique position to identify contributions of INDY reduction in the brain or whole body on metabolism, mitochondrial function, and longevity of the fly model of AD.
Mentorship and Supervision I will meet with the student on a regular basis. Student will attend lab meetings once a week. I will suggest manuscripts and we will discuss them together. Student will also interact with my graduate student and postdoctoral fellows on a daily basis.
Student Qualifications
– Genetics classes
– experience working with Drosophila melanogaster, fruit flies
– laboratory experience
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 3-9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, a brief statement of research interests, and a brief statement of career interests. Names and contact information for two references should be provided in the application.