I completed my PhD research in the Genetics Program under the guidance of Sergei Mirkin.
My work centered on Friedreich ataxia, a disorder caused by autosomal recessive inheritance of an expanded GAA trinucleotide repeat in the first intron of the frataxin gene, which results in gene repression and heterochromatic silencing. Interestingly, transcription through homopurine sequences, like the GAA repeat, has been shown to cause transcription arrest due to the formation of R-loops – RNA:DNA hybrids formed between template DNA and nascent mRNA behind a transcribing RNA polymerase. I studied the effect of R-loop formation on GAA repeat expansion and gene silencing in yeast.
I am now completing the fourth year of medical school.