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Renee Seto

Department: Molecular Biology
Faculty Adviser: Coleen Murphy
Year of Study: G2
Undergraduate School: Brown University
Undergraduate Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Personal Bio

Hi all, my name is Renee and I am a second year graduate student in the molecular biology program, where I study transgenerational epigenetic inheritance of pathogen avoidance in the nematode C. elegans. I am originally from Rhode Island, and attended Brown University for my undergraduate degree in biochemistry and molecular biology. I was involved in undergraduate research in two labs at Brown (transcription regulation and visual regeneration), and was part of the Amgen Scholars summer research program at UC Berkeley. My favorite thing about Princeton has been the nature and hiking, and I'm looking forward to exploring more of the nearby towns.

Fun Fact

I was the captain of the Brown varsity Equestrian team in college and have ridden horses for most of my life!

Research Pitch

What if, decades before even your parents were born, the experiences of your great-great-grandparents could shape your behavior, fitness, and survival? Extraordinarily, the roundworm C. elegans can do exactly this, passing on avoidance behaviors that protect the next four generations of progeny from a pathogenic bacterium. Furthermore, adults are able to horizontally transfer this avoidance to healthy worms in their community. I study the mechanism behind this vertical and horizontal transmission of behavior. We have genetic evidence that this response is mediated by a transposon encoding a virus-like particle, which is packaging and protecting the signal conferring avoidance. I am now working to characterize and visualize these particles using RNA sequencing, microscopy, cell culture, and further genetic analysis.

Plans for Summer 2022

Not available to participate in Summer ReMatch+ program.

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