Jennifer Wang

I am an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley. I have worked as a research assistant in the Patel Lab since 2012. I am currently assisting postdoctoral scholar Arnaud Martin with his research on CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing. We are using CRISPR/Cas9 to knock out Hox genes through non-homologous end-joining in Parhyale hawaiensis. Prior to that I assisted graduate student Erin Jarvis with her research on the development of nerves and musculature. We used RNA interference to knock down Hox genes in Parhyale hawaiensis, then visualized the effects on nerves and musculature using immunohistochemistry. My tasks as a research assistant have included microinjections, embryo culture, DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA ligation reactions, bacterial transformation, bacterial culture, DNA sequencing, formaldehyde fixation, sonication, antibody stains, microdissections, and fluorescent microscopy.

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During my time at the Patel Lab, I have successfully knocked out Dfd, Scr, Antp, Ubx, Abd-A, and Abd-B using CRISPR/Cas9, and sequenced the knockout genotypes. I also knocked down Abd-A and Abd-B using RNAi, and characterized the knockdown phenotypes using even-skipped antibody and phalloidin. I am interested in evolutionary developmental biology because I love exploring the mechanisms by which new traits arise. Arthropods have a wide diversity of appendages—for instance Parhyale hawaiensis has 8 different appendage types!—which has contributed greatly to their evolutionary success. I am very interested in how these evolutionary innovations came about—what genes were involved, how mutated limbs retained function, whether the creation of novel limb types happened in many steps or few—and how this process compares across different species.

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