During my junior year, I completed a French honors project entitled "Une paire de pigeons: La découverte du côté biblique des Rêveries de la femme sauvage." (A pair of pigeons: The discovery of the biblical side of Les Rêveries de la femme sauvage) For this project, I read Hélène Cixous's autobiographical work Les Rêveries de la femme sauvage and analyzed the biblical allusions found throughout the text.
During my senior year, I completed an English honors project entitled "The Body Speaks: Lady Gaga and a Battle Between Écriture Féminine and Objectification". For this project, I examined the relationship between objectification and Hélène Cixous's theory of écriture féminine (feminine writing) in Lady Gaga's music videos "Bad Romance" and "Yoü and I." I also made this project digital, and it can be found at: https://gagathesis.wordpress.com/
My thesis topic concerns the molecular details of how enzymes function in living cells. Particularly, my research has investigated the role of covalent crosslinking between two amino acids: tyrosine and cysteine (Tyr-Cys). I employed a bioinformatics methodology to identify proteins in which a Tyr-Cys crosslink could form. Experimental validation of one of these candidates, a protein of unknown function called BF4112, resulted in the discovery of the fifth known Tyr-Cys crosslink containing protein. Subsequent work has utilized BF4112 as a platform for exploring the mechanism of crosslink formation and for the development of methods for detecting Tyr-Cys crosslinks.
Last summer, I did a research internship in Cornell's department of plant pathology and plant microbe biology. My project focused on finding a gene responsible for plant resistance to a virus called grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV), a commercially important pathogen in the wine and grape industry due to the damages it causes to grapevines. The gene I worked with is called eIF4E. Using Nicotiana species (i.e. tobacco and its relatives) as a model system, I looked for a genetic mutation that correlated with virus resistance. Though I did find a small mutation that seemed to correlate with resistance, other experiments failed to confirm the relationship, leading us to hypothesize a more complex mechanism of virus resistance than previously proposed.