By Lauren Uchiyama, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17 Author’s Note: “I chose to write this piece because I felt Dr. Dan Starr is unique in that he is equally passionate about teaching and research. As an undergraduate in his BIS 104 cell biology class, I feel he highlights research well by teaching us from an experimental and historical perspective, which makes learning even more fun and interesting. His reputation as a difficult, yet acclaimed educator has made him one of the most prominent biology professors at UC Davis. I hope you enjoy getting to know him as much as I did!”
By Lauren Uchiyama, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’17 Author’s Note: “I chose to write this piece to familiarize myself with the most recent scientific literature on Mitofusin 2 for my UWP104E Writing in Science class. I was preparing to apply for the Undergraduate Research Center Provost Undergraduate Fellowship and felt this would be a good way to inform myself about a protein related to my own undergraduate project in Jodi Nunnari’s lab. I was puzzled that different experiments could lead to such conflicting findings on the same issue; thus, writing this review was an invaluable learning experience for me as both an undergraduate student and scientist.”
By Marisa Sanchez, Molecular and Cellular Biology ’15 SV2A is a synaptic vesicle protein, which participates in the regulation of neurotransmitter release in humans. SV2A is expressed in neurons and endocrine cells. The exact function of SV2A is still unknown, but it has been identified that SV2A is the binding site for the antiepileptic drug, levetiracetam. Levetiracetam reduces presynaptic glutamate release, especially in neurons with high frequency firing. Abnormally enhanced glutamatergic neurotransmission with high frequency neural firing is found in epilepsy and several neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and Huntington’s disease.
By Briga Mullin, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, ’15 What do a smoker, a two week old embryo, a child with a broken wrist, and a metastatic tumor all have in common? While these are a diverse group of conditions, they all have cells that are experiencing the same process known as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Mesenchymal cells are non-polarized, mobile, invasive, and their main function is to secrete extracellular matrix. In contrast, epithelial cells form our skin and the linings of our internal organs. They are normally polarized which means they have a directional structure and are uniformly oriented and are attached to a membrane to form a layer of epithelial tissue. Under certain conditions an EMT will occur and epithelial cells will change their transcription patterns, produce new proteins, destroy the basal membrane they are attached to, and totally convert their phenotype to become motile mesenchymal cells. EMT can be […]