native Phoenician, is a UBRPer in Dr. Carol Gregorio
lab, which focuses
research. Maria is involved in two projects. The
first investigates the interaction of nebulin and
alpha-actinin, two proteins found in skeletal and
heart cells. Nebulin is believed to serve as a
ruler to determine actin filament length, while
alpha-actinin provides the cross links that hold
the Z-disk in sarcomeres together. Maria's project
is to determine which parts of the nebulin protein
interact with alpha-actinin.
Maria's second project with Dr. Gregorio is to
clone the desmin protein. Desmin is another protein
skeletal and heart cells, which also interacts with nebulin.
Even though the exact function of desmin is still unknown,
once she clones the protein, Maria will investigate its
role in heart disease through introducing various mutations
in the protein.
Maria, a molecular and cellular biology
major, says her
research experience has been very rewarding. The knowledge
she has gained through the hands-on lab work as well
as the pride she feels in her work's applicability in
the science and medical fields allow Maria to harbor
a new appreciation for scientific research. Maria presented
a poster of her work at the 19th annual UBRP Conference,
January 26, 2008: https://ubrp.arizona.edu/conferences/08/abstract.cfm?id=669.
The UBRP part of her support comes from Bio5
a grant from the HHMI (52005889)