NAME: Ashleigh Bass
YEAR OF STUDY: Sophomore MAJOR(S): Biology
MENTOR(S): Dr. Tiffany Oliver
SOURCE(S) OF TRAINING SUPPORT: START, RISE HONORS: Bonner Scholar
CURRENT RESEARCH ACTIVITIES: (brief description): Exposure to organochlorides, a component of pesticides, are proposed to be a cause of increasing cancer rates due to their effect on DNA methylation. Our previous study showed that among individuals with > 100ng/mL of the organochloride DDE in their blood, the genes TERT, HCK, and DIO3 displayed differential methylation. The goal of the present study was to determine if differential methylation of these genes is also a hallmark of lung cancer in women. To answer this question data from the Cancer
Genome Atlas was used. Specifically, R Studio was used to perform paired t-tests and determine if the amount of DNA methylation differed not only for the aforementioned genes of interest but for 27,000 SNPs from patient-matched normal and lung tumor tissue (N=19). We then examined if these differences were correlated with changes in RNA
and protein expression. Thus far, results from our analysis showed that there was a statistically significant difference in the methylation of SNPS within the genes TERT (cg0254519 p-value = 1.53 ×10-3 and cg17166338 p-value 5.92 ×
10-8), HCK (cg03414321 p-value = 0.034 and cg08623947 p-value = 0.014) and DIO3 (cg04623955 p-value = 7.85 ×
10-5). Our future studies include using logistic regression analysis to determine if altered methylation of our SNPs of interest is associated with survival. Completion of this project will enable us to better understand the biological roles and functions of DDE in the promotion of lung cancer in women.
OTHER RESEARCH EXPERIENCES: START – 2016
We show Vangl2 and Frizzle asymmetrically localized in the cochlea. We observed recruitment of Vangl2 and Frizzled6
at opposing cell-cell contacts. In addition, we showed that Vangl2 biochemically interaction with Frizzled6 is dependent upon residue T519A. These findings suggest that interaction between Vangl2 and Frizzle may mediate and provide the cue for hair cells to align in a polarized fashion during development of the cochlea.
CAREER ASPIRATIONS AND GOALS: Plans to go into academia as a professor, continue to conduct research and mentor other up in coming researchers.
OTHER RELEVANT INFORMATION: N/A