Margaret Mungai is a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) intern and research assistant in Dr. Abel’s Laboratory. Under the co-mentorship of Dr. E. Dale Abel and Dr. Antentor Othrell Hinton Jr., she is currently studying how ablation of OPA-1 and insulin simulation affects mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) contact sites.
Mungai recently won a travel award from the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). She presented an Oral Presentation at ABRCMS in the cell biology section titled, OPA-1 Deficient Skeletal Muscle ER-Stress Increases Mitochondria Associated Membranes Through a MFN-1-MFN-2-GRP78 Tethering Mechanism.
The presentation examined how insulin responsive tissues in T2DM are shown to have altered Mitochondrial Endoplasmic Reticulum Contact site (MERCs) communication, which is characterized as specialized membranes that are between Mitochondria and Endoplasmic Reticulum that contain specific proteins believed to be important for calcium signaling, lipid transfer, and mitochondria morphology. Mungai’s role was to determine how the loss of OPA-1 in the mitochondria altered MERC communication.
Mungai is pursuing a neurobiology BS degree and a double minor in Spanish and Chemistry. She is a 2018 Summer Health Professional Education Program scholar and serves on the board of Women in Science and Engineering, Medicus Premedical Society and Iowa Student for Refugees. Kudos to Margaret!