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Sydney Sirota - Junior, Biochemistry


Tell me a little about yourself...

I’m a Biochemistry major planning to graduate May 2021. I started my research during Fall 2019.

How did you choose which research project to work on? How did you get involved with this research?

I chose this research project because through the class WSE 380: Research and Discovery in STEM, I rotated through the lab that I currently work in. I sent out an email out to the graduate student that I rotated with and she was able to find me a position in the lab. I was super interested in this rotation, so I was very grateful that they gave me the opportunity to work with them.

Do you have any advice for other undergraduate women in WISE with regard to pursuing research or succeeding as a researcher?

I think you must have the confidence to reach out. A lot of times professors are willing to have you come and try out working in the lab. If they don't have any spots open in your lab currently for undergraduate students, they can still help you find other, similar ones to try out.

In what ways has being apart of the WISE program helped you succeed in your undergraduate program/internships/jobs ?

Being in WISE has exposed me to different research experiences. Through the class WSE 380: Research and Discovery in STEM  I was able to begin my research journey. In WSE 381, I was exposed to service-learning projects and resume writing and review was possible through WSE 105: Opportunities in STEM and Beyond. 

Do you have a favorite research moment?

My favorite research moment thus far must be when I created four new strains by doing crosses of different strains of worms. I was working so hard to find a plate of worms that had both fluorescently tagged proteins that I wanted homozygous, and after looking, I finally found plates that were homozygous for both. I was proud of myself that I had completed this cross and that we could move forward in this project now that we had these strains.

What do you want to do after you graduate?

After I graduate, I  look forward to entering the healthcare field. I will also be applying in the 2021 application cycle for medical school.

Project Description:

I am studying the role of the cell cycle in cell fate decisions using the model organism C. elegans. One important cell that is the focus of my research is called the anchor cell, a terminally differentiated cell in the uterus of hermaphroditic animals which invades the basement membrane of the uterus. This is a normal morphogenetic process, as this will eventually lead to the opening for the birth canal so that the worms are able to lay eggs. Without this process occurring in these animals, they would not be able to lay eggs and the animals would die. In my lab, I am currently investigating the anchor cell/ventral uterine cell (AC/VU) decision in C. elegans, a Notch-Delta signaling related event. Another question that we are looking to answer is if the onset of nhr-67 (a transcription factor involved in anchor cell invasion) expression is predictive of anchor cell fate.