Charith Ratnayake Introduction

Hello! My name is Charith Ratnayake and I am a freshman biology major here at the college. I am primarily interested in pre medical studies but I also enjoy doing molecular research. Before I arrived on campus I applied to be in Dr. Saha’s honors laboratory and after a semester of honors lab  I was placed in her developmental biology laboratory, and that is where my research started. This past semester, along with my fellow lab member and mentor Andy Halleran, I have been doing research on the nervous system of frogs. Specifically, we are looking at the highly conserved Notch pathway. The Notch pathway contains a receptor that is connected to a intracellular domain, which when cleaved acts as a transcription factor and promotes the transcription of genes that lead to less differentiation. We plan to upregulate or down regulate this pathway to check the effects on the frog embryo. We hope to see phenotypic effects on the embryo, specifically with the neural tube and nervous tissue. Once that is completed we will check the difference in expression of certain genes once Notch expression has been changed. I am sure that this summer will be very fruitful and I look forward to seeing the results of our experiment!

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