Bio-X Graduate Student Fellow

Awarded in 2010
Home Department: Chemical Engineering
Faculty Advisors: Cliff Wang (Chemical Engineering), Tom Wandless (Chemical & Systems Biology), Laura Attardi (Genetics, Radiation Oncology), and Markus Covert (Bioengineering)

Research Title: Effects of p53 dynamics on cell survival

Research Description: The protein p53 protects the fidelity of the genome and limits mutations that could lead to cancer. The Wang lab uses γ-irradiation to induce double strand-ed breaks in the DNA to trigger a p53 response. Under these harsh conditions, p53 levels oscillate with a period of about 8 hours. It is unclear what function the p53 oscillations have. Does oscillatory behavior aid the cells in responding to DNA damage? William has created a synthetic p53 oscillator to decouple the stress signal (DNA damage) from the p53 oscillations. By manipulating the period, amplitude, and duration of oscillations, William can directly show how p53 dynamics affect DNA repair, cell survival, gene expression, and ultimately tumor suppression.


William is working for the Boston Consulting Group as a partner.