- B.S. Biology, University of Maine Fort Kent, 2016
My PhD research involves studying the biophysical properties of germ granules using C. elegansas a model. Germ granules or P granules in the C. eleagan,are exclusive to the germline and act to maintain germ cells pluripotent properties. Germ granules can form aggregates by way of weak hydrophobic interactions that localize around the nuclear pore complex. Here the components of germ granules create a specialized microenvironment that facilitates post-transcriptional processing events. Currently, I’m working to further our understanding of how germ granules function to maintain the pluripotent and immortal properties of germ cells. To do so we use CRISPR gene editing to incorporate mutations into key proteins found in germ granules that are directly involved in post-transcriptional processing. The incorporation of compromises to key components of germ granules in combination with RNA-seq enables us to further understand the roll these proteins play in in post-transcriptional processing and how these mechanisms can be applied to unlocking stem cell-like properties in other cell types.
In my pass time, I’ve been working on a study focusing on population genetics of an endangered plant; Furbish’s lousewort (Pedicularis furbishiae). The species is only found along a (225 km) section St. John River and has been in decline since the 1980s. The goal of the project is to reevaluate the degree of genetic variation throughout the population as a whole and determine if isolated meta populations of P. furbishiae have more genetic variation than others. This study will help to inform conservation efforts to prevent the species extinction
- Rochester, Jesse D., Paige C. Tanner, Catherine S. Sharp, Karolina M. Andralojc, and Dustin L. Updike. 2017. “PQN-75 Is Expressed in the Pharyngeal Gland Cells of Caenorhabditiselegans and Is Dispensable for Germline Development.” Biology Open6 (9): 1355–63. https://doi.org/10.1242/bio.027987.