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Peyton Kuhlers

Steatohepatitis, or fatty liver disease, causes harmful and sometimes deadly fibrosis of the liver.  Although steatohepatitis can be a product of genetic predisposition, not much is known about the genes that play a role in its development.

Peyton Kuhlers, a junior majoring in Biochemistry, is researching a mechanism that can screen for potentially steatohepatitis-causing genes. His model used the CRISPR-Cas9 system which utilizes the Cas-9 enzyme to cut and mutate specific genes that could play a role in the development of liver fibrosis. Peyton experimented with this model by infecting mouse liver cells with a virus containing Cas-9 genes, and from there, grew an entire colony of Cas-9 cells. Continuing this research will lead to a better understanding of steatohepatitis and will hopefully help researchers to identify potential therapeutic targets.

Kuhlers, who now plans to pursue a research career, says that the best part of his project was improving his ability to work independently in the laboratory and to put into practice the techniques learned in the classroom. He advises future student researchers to find a professor whose work genuinely interests them!

Last modified: October 19, 2018