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Dr. Emily Cartwright

Research Areas:

  • Transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene regulation
  • Developmental biology
  • Bioinformatics 
  • Analysis of large datasets


  • Drosophila RNA extraction
  • RNA-sequencing in Drosophila
  • Differential gene expression analysis
  • Motif enrichment analysis

Project Description:

Sequencing of genomes (DNA-sequencing) and transcriptomes (RNA-sequencing) has steadily increased in recent years and has provided access to vast amounts of data. The advent of high throughput sequencing allowed for not only the extensive study of model organisms (such as D. melanogaster) but also allowed for the study of many related organisms (in the case of fruit flies, species such as D. simulans, D. sechellia, and across the Drosophila phylogeny). We can use transcriptome datasets from these species to understand what genes are differentially expressed in different developmental stages or under different conditions. We can further leverage the large amount of data from transcriptome sequencing and differential gene expression analysis to understand gene regulation and propose mechanisms of gene regulation for further study. Motif enrichment analysis is one tool we can use to discover sequences in the promoter regions of genes that may be important in transcriptional regulation.

Summer research students will work with RNA-sequencing datasets to perform differential gene expression analysis using bioinformatics tools. They will then use the findings from this analysis to make further comparisons and carry out motif enrichment analysis. You definitely do not need to have a background in using bioinformatic tools but if you have an interest in learning and getting exposure to working with large data sets, this project would be a great place to start! 

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