Scaptomyza Flava feed on the living tissue of mustard plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) yet its ancestors were microbe feeding. This transition involved the ability to better detoxify the mustard oils present in the plant. The detoxification of these oils, isothiocynates, is done with glutathione S-tranferase enzymes (GST), which are part of the mercapturic acid pathway. Multiple GST enzymes have been chosen as potential enzymes that have undergone positive selection to better detoxify these oils. Expressing which enzymes that have undergone selection and help detoxify is what I have been working on. I joined the Whiteman lab in Spring of 2014.
I am a senior majoring in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology with a minor in biochemistry and history. I grew up in Show Low, Arizona a small town in the mountains. I plan to go to graduate school and get a PhD in biochemistry or molecular biology. The work I am currently doing with glutathione S-transferases, the adaptation they have undergone and the pathways involved will help further my biochemistry knowledge and better prepare me for a career in that field.