Susan Afolabi

Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry


Title: Characterizing the effects of ferritin on ovarian cell migration in Drosophila melanogaster.

My research focuses on the roles of Ferritin in cell migration of migratory cells known as border cells in drosophila melanogaster. Ferritin helps to store iron in a non-toxic form in cells and my project focuses on investigating how the ferritin protein complex affects cell migration as well as exploring what transcription factor binding sites are present within the ferritin genes locus to understand how it may be regulated in fruit flies.

Who is your mentor for your project?
My mentor is Dr. Michelle Starz-Gaiano from the Biological sciences department. I found my mentor while I was taking her class (cell biology) and I chose to work with her because I was fascinated and interested in cell and developmental biology processes and I believed I would be able to learn a lot by working in her lab which I am.

How did you become interested in this project?
I became interested in this project because I was curious about cell migration and underlying biological processes that regulate it, and the role of ferritin was unique and fascinating to me and to learn about in cell migration.

What has been the hardest part of your research/what was the most unexpected thing about being a researcher?
The most unexpected thing about being a researcher would be being able to think and work independently. The hardest part of my research would be being able to interpret and expand on results that were not expected and also to be able to improve the way I come up with questions to explore.

What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part is when everything comes together nicely and I understand how it relates to the bigger picture. There is a sense of accomplishment that motivates me to take on more tasks with my project.

How will you disseminate your research?
I will be presenting at URCAD in April. I will also be presenting at the USM conference as well as ABRCMS this year.

What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
Be open, passionate, and actively involved in your project. Also if you have difficulties finding a mentor, keep trying, and stay open to opportunities.

What are your career goals?
My career goal is to become a biomedical scientist.


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