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Rochelle Sadeghi

Undergraduate Major: Molecular Biology and Microbiology

Future Plans: Graduate program in Cell and Molecular Biology

Rochelle Sadeghi

Rochelle Sadeghi was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is earning a degree in Molecular Biology and Microbiology. Currently she is examining how intracellular motor proteins are involved in transported cargoes in neurons. Mutations in these motor proteins can lead to peripheral neurodegenerative disorders such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) and Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) diseases.

Spontaneous changes in immortalized mammalian cell lines result in cell competition

Conducted at the University of Pennsylvania as part of the Summer Research Internship program and the McNair Scholars Program

Mentors: Ben Stanger, MD/PhD and Alfredo Penzo-Méndez, Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Abstract: Cell competition is the elimination of slow-growing cells when confronted by a faster-growing population in the Drosophila imaginal disc epithelium. It involves poorly understood cell-cell interactions resulting in an active, context-dependent response where "winner" cells drive "loser" cells to undergo apoptosis. Cell competition is believed to play a role in regulation of organ size control and carcinogenesis but it is not clear whether it occurs in vertebrate cells. We screened for spontaneous cell competition in stochastically derived 3T3 and MDCK clones. We describe several viable clones that undergo increased apoptosis when in presence of parental cells. We further show that "loser" 3T3 and MDCK cell elimination requires active cell growth and direct contact with "winner" cells. These results suggest that cell competition is a widespread phenomenon in non-transformed mammalian cells and provide a platform to further characterize the molecular mechanisms of cell competition.