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Genetics Scholars Share Research Presentations

Rudy Brandl

Upper School science students addressed the fields of genetics and molecular biology in a series of informative presentations in the Oakwood Room on May 31. Dr. Susan Zusman, who guided the students in their yearlong research, provided a brief welcome and introduction to the program, which was attended by students, parents, faculty and administrators.

Students worked on an independent genetic research project using drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) in collaboration with active researchers at Princeton University. Having visited their mentors recently during a trip to Princeton University, the students were eager to share their research and findings.

Twelve students in the genetics research program shared presentations: Emma Herko ’25, Jasteij Sappal ’25 and Giselle Rodriguez ’25 discussed the role of the mek signaling pathway in drosophila flight behavior. Gbemi Olarewaju ’24, Sanya Sidhu ’24 and Joanne Ding ’24 (not present) investigated genetic interactions in the hedgehog signaling pathway. Simrah Razvi ’24 shared findings in her study of the mek mutation in drosophila heartbeat function. Amandeep Bahia ’24 and Julianna Fan ’24 discussed the creation of a new drosophila strain for the examination of mek/ras signaling during early development. Hannah Yin ’24, Diya Patel ’24 and Zara Zaidi ’24 closed the program by presenting on the roles of sep2, myo and atx genes in drosophila tracheal development. 

“I am so proud of the students in my research course,” Dr. Zusman said. “They worked very hard and accomplished a tremendous amount. Each student produced significant data and reagents that can now be used by the scientific community. Awesome job, research students!”