2023 Undergraduate Summer Research Program Participant

Home Department: Biology
Mentor: Sergiu P. Pasca (Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences - Sleep Medicine)

“Characterizing the Role of Chromatin Regulatory Genes in Cortical Organoids”

Recent progress in genetics has identified numerous genes with damaging mutations that are associated with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs), yet we lack an understanding of how these mutations lead to these disorders. Genes encoding chromatin regulators, which control the activity and structure of DNA, are among the most frequently mutated in NDDs. Through her project, Zuzana aims to characterize the molecular mechanisms underlying NDDs that stem from chromatin gene mutations by deleting these genes using the gene editing tool CRISPR/Cas9 and assessing the molecular and cellular consequences in cortical organoids, which are a stem cell-based model of developing brain.