Photo of smiling male undergraduate student Saw Kyaw.
2021 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Cohort Lead

Home Department: Human Biology
Mentor: William Weis (Structural Biology, Photon Science Directorate, and Molecular & Cellular Physiology)

“Understanding the Wnt Protein Pathway”

Human cells communicate to each other through systems that include key proteins, one family of which is called the “Wnt” protein. This protein is important for cell growth, and when the communication is disrupted, this leads to developmental disorders and cancer. However, it is unclear how the Wnt protein works within and between cells to initiate growth. Saw’s project aims to create a mathematical model to understand the systems at work and validate the model with experimentation. By predicting how the Wnt protein from one cell interacts with the proteins on another cell, the model has implications on understanding how cancer cells act and will aid in the development of regenerative medicine.