I am a graduate student in the Genetics Program at University of Iowa doing graduate research in gene regulatory evolution using genetic, biochemical, and computational techniques.
I am currently working with the Phosphate Starvation (PHO) response transcription factor Pho4 in Candida glabrata (cg) and Saccharomyces cerevisiae (sc). We know that CgPho4 activates more downstream targets than ScPho4. CgPho4 also doesn't require coactivation while ScPho4 does. My current focus is to computationally model amino acid substitutions in ScPho4 that could be responsible for this enhanced activity we see in CgPho4. Our group wants to better understand the basis for this increased activity. By narrowing down the regions contributing to the enhanced activity, we can begin to understand how gene regulation evolved in this system.
When I'm not in the lab, I enjoy yoga and hanging out with my friends. I also take every chance to travel, I think Russia is the only place I have been that is colder than Iowa!