HBCU Initiative, Berkeley Stem Cell Center & NSF
Pre-Doctoral Fellow, MCB
I received my B.S. in Biology from Howard University in the Fall of 2018. As an undergraduate, I worked in the lab of Dr. Atanu Duttaroy, studying how mutations in the gene spargel (PGC-1) affected ovarian development in Drosophila melanogaster. In the Dillin lab I work closely with Postdoctoral fellow Dr.Andrew Murley using C elegans to model quiescence.
Reversible exit from the cell cycle, known as cellular quiescence, is a feature of many cells in the body, including stem cells. The ability of a subset of stem cells to exit and re-enter the cell cycle is key to development and tissue repair throughout life. Evidence suggests that the unfolded protein response of the ER (UPRER), an ancient and highly conserved cellular response to the accumulation of unfolded proteins and/or disruptions in the lipid bilayer of the ER, is key to governing functional quiescence and cell-cycle re-entry. When activated the UPRER results in transcriptional changes that help restore ER function. As an organism ages, the capacity of stem cells to re-activate from quiescence declines, as does their ability to repair damaged tissues. I am working to determine the role of ER homeostasis in a C. elegans model of quiescence and to translate my findings to a tractable and physiologically relevant in vitro system to study quiescence and re-activation in human cells.