2019 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Electrical Engineering
Mentor: William Talbot, Developmental Biology

Ceramide is an essential messenger of a pathway that involves apoptosis and growth arrest, and is also an essential component in building the myelin sheath around nerve fibers. Tara will analyze the effects that knocking out the ceramide synthase gene, which is critical in ceramide synthesis, has on myelination of the axons in the central nervous system of zebrafish. She will generate fish with an inactive form of this gene and, with live imaging, determine the number of myelin producing cells, the timing of development, and where myelination does or does not occur. This research could shed light on diseases like multiple sclerosis.