Christina Sun '11

[Christina Sun '11]

Hello! I graduated from Wellesley College in May 2011 with a major in Neuroscience. I am from Lisle, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. Currently, I attend Harvard Medical School (Class of 2015), with fellow lab alumna Dana Im and Rosalind Lai!

I have had an interest in research since high school and had my first exposure to bench research at the Division of Infectious Diseases of Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in the summer of 2008. Under the mentorship of Dr. Eunyoung Kim, I studied the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In the summer of 2009, I joined the Tetel Lab through the Science Center Summer Research Program at Wellesley. I had a wonderful experience working in the Tetel Lab over the summer and continued my research throughout the academic year.

In the Tetel Lab, I investigated the role of membrane estrogen receptors in estrogen signaling using a transgenic mouse that expressed membrane only estrogen receptor-α (MOER) from Ellis Levin's lab (UC Irvine). MOER mice are void of nuclear and cytoplasmic estrogen receptors, which are known to have transcriptional effects in brain. The Levin lab has shown that MOER mice have severe atrophy of reproductive organs and that female mice are infertile. Previous work has demonstrated that wild type mice express estradiol-induced progestin receptors. For my senior thesis project, I examined whether or not MOER mice can still induce the expression of progestin receptors in brain via membrane estrogen receptors alone. To address these questions, I used immunohistochemistry and confocal analysis. My research was funded by the Robert D. Staley Award for Cancer-related research and the Jerome A. Schiff Fellowship.