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Ekaterina (Kat) Pak

Department of Biological Engineering
Cambridge, MA


Biological Engineering
MIT, Class of 2009

Lab Experience

MIT Department of Biological Engineering

Cambridge, MA

Faculty Advisor: Bevin Engelward, direct advisor Dr. Werner Olipitz

Examined the effects of radiation on homologous recombination in mouse pancreata. Working with the fluorescent yellow direct repeat mouse model, I used in situ imaging and flow cytometry to determine the level of induced HR in mouse pancreata as a result of exposure to varying levels of radiation. Publication is pending for the upcoming year on this work. I also recently began work on measuring T cell activation and response to radiation. I will be involved with quantifying cytokine levels in irradiated mice as well as histological comparisons of the mouse gastrointestinal system. I was also responsible for upkeep of the mouse colony and assisted on several other projects in the lab. (January 2008-Present)

California Institute of Technology

Pasadena, CA

Faculty Advisor: Christina Smolke

Designed and characterized regulatory RNA elements for controlled gene expression. This work was part of a larger project which was entered into the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition at MIT (iGEM) in fall of 2007. The goal of the project was to regulate the lysis/lysogeny switch in lambda phage upon infection of E. coli. With the help of RNAstructure and VectorNTI software, I designed thirteen interacting RNA elements that would control expression of life cycle genes in lambda phage and measured their interaction with flow cytometry ( My research was funded by the Amgen Scholars program. (June 2007-August 2007)

MIT Media Lab

Cambridge, MA

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Peter Carr

Assisted in testing proteins for error correction in DNA synthesis. The goal of the project was to make DNA synthesis faster and more efficient. I was responsible for expression of an engineered protein which would detect and correct errors in DNA synthesis. The bulk of my work involved protein expression and solubilization. (January 2006-June 2007)

Public Health Research Institute

Newark, NJ

Advisor: Dr. Dan-Oscar Antson

Assisted in developing a diagnostic assay to detect pathogenic species in humans using fluorescent hybridization probes called molecular beacons. My responsibilities were to quantify levels of beacon-target interactions using real-time PCR. (August 2004-August 2005)

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