M.S., Exercise &
Sport Science, Smith
College, Northampton, MA, 1998
B.A., Economics and French, Smith
College, Northampton, MA, 1996
The tintinnid ciliate Favella
is an important consumer of algae in marine coastal waters, but its
feeding behavior is complex and not well understood.
A recent study
by S. Strom, G. Wolfe, and K. Bright showed that amino acids with small
side chains, such as serine, proline, and alanine, suppress feeding
in Favella in a non-toxic, dose-dependent, rapid, and readily
reversible manner. My research is focused on understanding the molecular
mechanisms underlying this feeding inhibition. I am using 3H isotopes
to study the binding of amino acids to a putative receptor on Favella.
Ultimately, I hope to characterize this receptor biochemically, show
where it is located, and offer an explanation for how the binding of
small side-chained amino acids to the receptor relates to the feeding
inhibition observed by Strom et al.
In my copious
amounts of free time, I also conduct research on the feeding habits
of a toddler girl.