Recently published FAU High alumna, Sanjana Chandran, Shares Her Research Story

by Sanjana Chandran | Thursday, Jan 25, 2024

One of the main reasons I enrolled in the dual enrollment program at FAU High School was to take advantage of the resources of FAU, a public university, and get an early start on my research journey. In the Fall of 2018, as an FAU High sophomore and FAU undergraduate freshman, I met with Dr. Meredith to discuss my research interests in biological sciences, and she gave me valuable insights on identifying potential research mentors, how to communicate my interests to them, etc...

I began my research at FAU in January 2019 and worked in Dr. Janet Robishaw's lab during the Spring and Fall 2019 semesters. While studying the role of G-protein signaling dysregulation and associated congenital heart defects due to statin use by pregnant women, I got my first exposure to molecular biology techniques such as transfections, PCR, etc., under the guidance of Ms. Anna Stauffer. Since three of my great-grandparents died due to Alzheimer's disease or related dementias, I developed a keen interest in neuroscience, especially age-related neurodegenerative diseases. I became interested in Dr. David Binninger's research on understanding the role of the antioxidant enzyme system of Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases (MSRs) in aging and age-related diseases and started working in his lab in the Spring 2020 semester. While COVID-19 impacted my research progress to some degree, I worked in Dr. Binninger's lab for fifteen months, researching the effects of MSRs on hypoxia tolerance and resistance to oxidative stress in Drosophila.

My work resulted in two papers being published in the journal Antioxidants. The first one was "Hypoxia Tolerance Declines with Age in the Absence of Methionine Sulfoxide Reductase (MSR) in Drosophila melanogaster," published in July 2021, in which I was the second author. The second one was "Role of Oxidative Stress, Methionine Oxidation and Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases (MSR) in Alzheimer's Disease," published in December 2023, in which I was the first author.

Since graduating from FAU High and FAU, I have continued my research journey at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Michigan Medical School and will be starting medical school in a few months. My passion and abilities for research and scientific discovery would not have developed without these formative research experiences during my FAU High School years.