I am Samantha Fernandes a Biology undergrad with a Chemistry minor at FIU. As a McNair fellow, I am working towards receiving my PhD in molecular biology with a specialty in Neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. My hobbies include reading, dancing, and design. I am happy spending an afternoon pipetting away at my bench.
Since beginning my research in the DeGennaro lab, I have been on the Genetics Tools team working closely with Elina Barredo. We are working to increase the genetic tools available to the Aedes aegypti mosquito research community. My project focuses on using CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to create docking strains that allow for site specific recombination in eye pigment loci. The goal is to produce mosquito strains with distinctive eye colors that can be used to introduce transgenes while controlling for genome positional effects. I am also testing of the Gal4/UAS system using a mosquito line that carries the Gal4 transcription factor under the control of a heat shock promoter, and a responder line that expresses a green fluorescent protein when Gal4 binds to the activating sequences found upstream of GFP. The project includes immunohistochemistry and microscopy to test for the success of the system.