I am from Algeria, and I grew up in the small north eastern town of Setif. I am going into my senior year of undergraduate studies at the American University in Cairo, where I study Biology, with an emphasis on molecular and cellular biology. As I go into my senior year of study and conduct a senior research thesis, VISRA happened to be the perfect opportunity for me to explore biomedical research. VISRA is helping me narrow my research field interest to what I will ultimately focus on, beyond my undergraduate career. In VISRA, I'm hoping to learn firsthand the intricate work of a biomedical investigator,by conducting research in the lab this summer. I'm also hoping to explore my scientific interest and lay the ground for my post graduate career in the realm of biomedical research. VISRA is a tremendously rich learning experience, both in terms of lab techniques, but also with regards to the holistic approach to lab research.
During my 8 week stay at Vanderbilt, I am working in the lab of Pr. Jason MacGurn. I am interested in the homeostasis and metabolism of ubiquitin in the endocytic trafficking of membrane proteins in yeast, by investigating the phosphorylation of ubiquitin at Serine 57. I am using yeast as a model system to isolate factors that facilitate endocytic trafficking of membrane proteins and bypass a DUB block in the ESCRT 0 component of the endocytic machinery, by phosphorylating ubiquitin at Serine 57. Isolating phosphorylating factors at Serine 57 will ultimately allow us to understand how this phosphorylation event fits into the broader context of endocytic trafficking of membrane proteins as well as its role in ubiquitin metabolism and homeostasis. The clinical significance of my research project is important insofar as the ubiquitin homeostasis and metabolism have been linked to diseases such as cystic fibrosis and the cell cycle progression in polyploid cancer cells.
Before hanging my hat in Tennessee for the summer, I spent a few months studying in Oregon as an exchange student. And while being on the west coast allowed me to visit places like San Francisco, Seattle and the Grand Canyon, I am more than excited to discover yet another part of the U.S, by spending my summer in Nashville.
Outside the lab, I have enjoyed exploring the gorgeous Vanderbilt campus and Nashville, with its famous music scene! It has also become a ritual for me to go to the Centennial Park every week end and relax while watching ducks swimming in the lake, and dogs playing around.