Headshot portrait of Pooja Akella - Bio-X Undergraduate Fellow
2022 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Undeclared
Mentor: James K. Chen (Chemical & Systems Biology, Developmental Biology, and Chemistry)

“Elucidation of the HIPK4-Dependent Phosphoproteome in Round Spermatids”

Homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 4 (HIPK4) is essential for male fertility in mice and is predominantly found in developing sperm cells. The Chen lab has established HIPK4 as a key regulator of sperm head shaping, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this process are unknown. Pooja will address this question by performing comparative analysis of cell signaling in both sperm cells with and without the HIPK4 gene. To do this, she will purify populations of round sperm cells from mice using gravity sedimentation and fluorescence microscopy. Pooja will then process these cells using chemical and biochemical techniques, and submit them for phosphoproteomic analysis. Results will elucidate how HIPK4 is molecularly involved in sperm cells development.