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Students Share Genetics 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 20. Dr. Susan Zusman, who guided the students in their 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 an active researcher at a university, research institute or biotech company. Seven students shared their research and findings last week: 

Shankari Theivanayagam ’22 – Creating Drosophila Strains for Live Imaging of Protein Interactions; Zachary Brzosko ’22 – Investigation of the human mekY130C mutation in Drosophila heartbeat function; Anting Luo ’23 – Investigation of the human mekE203K mutation in Drosophila heartbeat function; Ananya Murlidharan ’22 – Investigation of Genetic Interactions in the Hedgehog Signaling Pathway; Shiv Tickoo ’22 – The role of the chromosome bows (chb) gene in Drosophila tracheal development; Naischa Puri ’23 – The role of the twinstar (tsr) gene in Drosophila tracheal development; Phyllis Li ’23 – The role of the mini spindles (msps) gene in Drosophila tracheal development.

“It was a great pleasure to mentor the dedicated, motivated students that participated in the Wardlaw+Hartridge Honors Research Program in Genetics,” Dr. Zusman said. “Each student was partnered with an active researcher in academia and was assigned a unique project from their lab. The projects involved unpublished, unique experiments that each student could perform and evaluate independently. Many worked on their projects outside of class time. It was not unusual to see students working in our research lab at any hour of the day. They were well-prepared and enthusiastic about their results. I am very proud of their efforts and their contributions to scientific research.”