Cambridge Rindge and Latin School
Cambridge, MA

Eugene Drokhlyansky and Nicholas Van Wittenberghe
Regev Lab

Skeletal muscle cells originate when multiple undifferentiated muscle progenitor cells (called “myoblasts”) fuse together to make one very large cell. This process leads to a very unique property of skeletal muscle cells: they have more than one nucleus. Even though each nucleus contains exactly the same DNA, it is currently unknown how similar or different the transcriptional regulation of the different nuclei inside each muscle cell is. Knowing this information could have a profound impact on our understanding of diseases such as muscular dystrophy. Using fluorescence activated cell sorting, Eli successfully isolated the nuclei of several muscle progenitor cells and sequenced their RNA in order to begin answering this question.

Eli decided to apply about the program after doing a school project about GMOs and being fascinated by the CRISPR/Cas9 technology. “Before this program, I had no idea if I would like research at all,” said Eli. “Now, I have so many more questions that I want to answer! After this experience, I’m definitely looking forward to more research.”