Tamra Heberling

 Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics

Heberling’s research focuses on mathematical modeling and numerical analysis. She is currently modeling transcription, which is the first step of gene expression when a particular segment of DNA is copied into RNA by the enzyme RNA polymerase. During transcription, RNA polymerases are known to frequently pause for short lengths of time. In the high density setting, where there are many polymerases transcribing the gene in a line, the transcriptional pauses can cause a “traffic jam” of polymerases on the DNA strand. A mathematical analysis of this phenomenon will lead to a greater understanding of the cause and effect of these pauses on gene expression and regulation. Read more…

 

Pilar Manrique

Ph.D. candidate in Microbiology

Manrique studies the role of viruses in shaping the structure and function of the bacterial communities associated with the human gut. Changes in the gut microbiome composition and structure negatively impact human health, and correlate with important diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Her research focuses on defining the role of viruses associated with the human gut microbiome in affecting human health and disease. She has isolated viruses from human samples, directly sequenced the isolated viral genomes, and applied advance bioinformatics analysis to understand the viral community composition and temporal dynamics in the human gut. Read more…