Samrawit Agezew, an undergraduate in the Nord lab, completed a 10 week REU Summer Research Program at University of Washington, Genome sciences department this past summer. The program is designed for undergraduates that want to enroll in to PhD or MD/ PhD programs after completing their undergraduate studies and is specific to students that are from underrepresented groups in the biomedical sciences.

Samra worked at The Berg lab, which is focused on cell communication and migration as well as patterning and morphogenesis. The lab used Drosophila melanogaster as an animal model to study the genes and pathways involved in cell development and tube formation. Samra’s project was titled “Imaginal Disc Growth Factors Interact with the Environment for Tube Morphogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster.” She looked at flies that have all six of IDGFs encoding genes deleted and how they respond to high CO2 exposure. This significant because Idgfs have human orthologues called Chitinase-like proteins (CLPs) which are found in high levels in cancer and inflammatory disease, but their mechanism is still yet to be understood.