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Ghazal Stity '15

Ghazal Stity '15

Ghazal Stity '15

Characterization of a novel bang-sensitive in Drosophila melanogaster

Major/minor: Biochemistry (Major)/ Mathematics (Minor)
Hometown: Allentown, PA
Project mentor: Dr. Christopher Jones

Project Details:

  1. Briefly describe your SOAR project.
    A class of mutations in Drosophila melanogaster, also known as fruit flies, named bang-sensitive has been studied by many geneticists around the world. Fruit flies carrying this mutation display a seizure like phenotype when exposed to vigorous physical shock such as banging. Few mutations of this class have been identified and linked to their genes which is an essential step in further characterizing the roles of these genes and their effects on the flies overall well-being. Understanding bang-sensitive mutations is particularly interesting for the promise they hold in influencing the way seizures in humans are viewed. A recently acquired uncharacterized-bang-sensitive mutant is the focus of this project. Various genetic techniques were used to investigate the general location of the gene and narrow the list of candidate genes to one gene. 
  2. What motivated you to participate in SOAR? 
    My passion towards research and investigating scientific questions was my main motive to participate in SOAR. I find genetics and the blueprint behind our existence, the DNA, fascinating, which is the reason I choose to focus my research on investigating a novel gene in Drosophila melanogaster.
  3. What are the results of your work on this project? 
    Through various genetic research methods, we were able to narrow down the suspected number of genes from ~2600 genes to ~35 (Which is very exciting to us).
  4. What are your personal takeaways from the project? And do you plan to continue work on this project after SOAR? 
    Participating in this project has enhanced my love for science and research. This experience had taught me to be appreciative for every piece of information published by other scientists, because publishing one paper takes months of hard work and sleepless nights. It had also challenged me to think and rethink every hypothesis and theory I come cross… In summary, it could not have been more beneficial and enjoyable. My work on this project will be turned into an Honors Project where I get to spend another academic year of fun and research on the same subject to find an answer to my question.

Biographical Information:

  1. What clubs/sports/activities/community service are you involved in? 
    I am the president of the Pre-Health Professions Club, treasure of Society of Physics Students, treasure of Women in Science and Engineering. I am an active member in St. George Orthodox Church in Allentown (choir member, community service, church festivities, etc.). I have also completed 60 hours of volunteering at St. Luke’s Hospital and I plan on continuing my volunteering next semester. 
  2. Have you received any awards/recognitions here? 
    I have participated in Scholar’s Day last year for my work with Dr. Shari Dunham on another independent study research project which in return I received a recognition for my participation. 
  3. Briefly, what are your future plans and career goals? 
    Medicine is where I belong; I came to this realization through my various experiences in shadowing physicians and volunteering in hospitals. I plan to attend medical school after I graduate from Moravian University. My research experiences here at Moravian will be definitely incorporated to my future as a physician and my lab bench work will be a lead for me to become a future physician-scientist and participate in the next great innovations-to-come in the field of medicine.