Featured Faculty: Megan Cevasco

Megan CevascoMegan Cevasco, PhD, Coastal Carolina University

PROJECT TITLE: Kleptoplasty: organelle recognition and retention

Understanding the retention and functionality of organelles acquired from other organisms is of growing biomedical significance as an understanding of the human genome continues to deepen as investigations of endosymbiosis / endo-parasitism to go beyond evidence of genome reduction to search for genomic transfers and consider the mechanisms and effect of gene expression of foreign genomes within the eukaryotic cell. Understanding how foreign genomes are acquired and functionally maintained by eukaryotic host cells has the potential to advance the efficacy of intracellular medicine.

Over the summer of 2016 the lab (3 undergraduate and 1 high school student) were able to extract RNA from kleptoplastic cells and construct an cDNA library. The lab was able to successfully amplify transcripts of rbcL that indicate functionality of the acquired organelle with the host cell. Funding from SC INBRE during Summer 2016 grant funded the lab students for 10 weeks and paid for consumables and reagents necessary for this project.

January 5, 2018