I completed my undergraduate degree in pre-professional biology here at UWF and am currently working on my Masterís Degree in Dr. Ryalsí Lab. My research interests include membrane biochemistry and molecular biology of single-celled organisms, and phospholipid binding protein and phosphatidyl inositol analysis in different species of Tetrahymena. During the summer of 2008, I worked on three projects with Dr. Ryals as a MERCK scholar: the heterogeneity of phosphorylated and calcium-binding proteins of macrostomal cell-forming species of Tetrahymena, an analysis of phopshoinositide from two species of Tetrahymena using TLC and HPLC methods, and the effects of lithium and other agents on phosphorylated and calcium-binding proteins in Tetrahymena patula.
My thesis work includes the detection of phosphoinositide-binding proteins in Tetrahymena vorax using liposomes as an affinity-binding matrix. Tetrahymena are model organisms for protein and lipid researchers, biomedical researchers, etc. The phopshatidylinositols and polyphosphoinositides that I will be working with are crucial to basic cellular functions in all eukaryotic organisms, including cellular growth, apoptosis, cell migration, endocytosis, and cell differentiation. I will be using some protein extraction methods and creating liposomes to separate the phospholipid-binding proteins that Iím interested in. I will then select one or two specific proteins after gel electrophoresis and protein mass spectrometry, which will be used to determine their identity.