Each year, the program offers a small number of stipends to allow some URAP apprentices to continue work on their mentors' research projects over the summer. To be eligible, students must have been working with the same mentor for at least two semesters. Mentors nominate their students. These stipends are generously supported by a number of private donors.

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Spleen Development in TLx1 and NKx2.5 deficient human cell lines

Summer 2017

Amir-Ala Mahmoud : Molecular and Cellular Biology

Mentor: Licia Selleri, Department of Orofacial Sciences and Department of Anatomy, UCSF

TLx1 and Nkx2.5 are transcription factors that are essential regulators of early spleen development. In order to better understand how conditions such as incomplete congenital asplenia, and other aberrations of the spleen develop, better understanding the effects of these transcription factors on development is necessary. In order to do so I am generating spleen cell lines from both human fetuses and mouse embryos that are deficient in Tlx1 and Nkx2.5 by conducting genome editing through the CRISPR-cas9 platform. Upon achieving this I will be able to understand specifically how these transcription factors function and their relationship to congenital disease.

Message to Sponsor:

Since I have been a part of URAP, working on research has been the most intellectually stimulating and enjoyable thing that I have done. It is an invaluable opportunity to work at the cutting edge of science and it has helped me realize my academic passions. This Summer as I will be able to do more in the lab than I ever have and I am grateful for the opportunity that I have been given. I am optimistic that much will come out of my research while also affording me the ability continue developing while in a research environment.