Rachel Ye

Masters Student, Department of Anatomy and Physiology

What does your research focus on and why is it important?

My research focuses on the intestinal stem cells of Drosophila (the common fruit fly) and the genes found in these cells. Drosophila is a common human disease animal model, which means that researchers use this organism to study unstudied/unknown diseases. As these genes are also present in humans (called ‘homologues’), we can use the results to understand how the genes in humans might work. Eventually, we want to use this information to find treatments for disease. My project in particular focuses on a gene and how it is involved in Drosophila intestine cancer. This offers insights into how its human counterpart (“homologue”) might participate in human intestine cancer.

Did you have a part-time job whilst at school/studying?

No, but I participated in many extracurricular activities, such as choir, musical instrument competitions and drama club!

How do you see your area of research evolving in the next five years?

I think as time passes, there will be more data elucidating different aspects of my area of research. For instance, different functions of different genes. Over time, we will be able to link those genes (in the fly) to their counterparts in the human. While I don’t think all genes will be understood in five years, it is likely that a large proportion of fly genes will have been explored, and have practical applications, for example in disease modelling.

Find out more about the e-Meet a Biomedical Scientist program and participating researchers here.