Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Anika Rajput

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Characterizing Glial Cells Missing Transcription Factor (GCM1) Effect on Placental Gene Expression 

Project Description: For 9 months, a human fetus is dependent on the placenta which provides oxygen and nutrients, regulates waste transport, and acts as an immunological barrier. These 9 months are critical as the placenta has been linked to various health outcomes later in life. Glial Cells Missing Transcription Factor 1 (GCM1) is a transcription factor (TF) that plays a crucial role in placental development. In order to understand its role in placental gene expression, GCM1 was knocked down and gene expression levels were measured to quantify what effect it has on placenta expression. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

When I first started my research journey, I was not very familiar with data analysis. I ran into many roadblocks when it came to writing code and using various analytical tools. However, with more practice I found myself getting more familiar with different aspects of the code and being able to problem solve myself. This taught me the importance of being patient with your self and being persistent when something is not working.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Start drafting your application essay early and have at least 3 different people review it. One of those people should be someone who is not from the field you are researching so that you can make sure your essay is understood by people in all disciplines.