UNT Research, Volume 16, 2006 Page: 46
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Ui Desh Mohan
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
received a $30,000 scholarship for placing
fourth among the individual finalists in the
2005 Siemens Westinghouse Competition
in Math, Science and Technology.
Established in 1999 and funded by
the Siemens Foundation, the competition
recognizes research in mathematics and
science by high school-age students.
ual finaliists in the 200
Competition in Mat
Science and Technolo
His investigation of \
helps worms surviv
without oxygen ma\
.ulca tinnss for h ima
"I was trying to see what genes or
molecules in worms help them to survive
without oxygen, and if gender makes a dif-
ference," he says.
Mohan compared the hermaphrodite
nematodes with male nemadotes, deter-
mining that after 48 hours, more than
95 percent of the males had survived
oxygen deprivation, and after 72 hours,
1t0 iisay iUv a' p uuunu JULutcjii e On io vV
tients with stroke, heart disease and cancer
Mohan explains that Caenorhabditis
elegans can be male or hermaphrodite.
"It's known that when they're deprived
of oxygen, they enter a reversible state of
suspended animation," he says.
In Padilla's previous studies, adult her-
maphrodites deprived of oxygen for 24
hours, 48 hours and 72 hours were found
to have survival rates of approximately 90
percent, 10 percent and 3 percent, but
Mohan says the response of their male
counterparts to anoxia had yet to be char-
more than 80 percent were still alive.
"These results suggest that males have
a different metabolic stress pathway that
allows them to survive anoxia better,"
He adds that the males reacted to the
anoxic conditions much quicker than the
"It is possible that the quicker
response of the males to anoxia exposure
could be an evolutionary stress adaptation
of the males," he says.
Mohan says a better knowledge of
genes that control the survival mechanism
46 i 2z0oo u RsUN I si
of suspended animation in the worms
could help scientists develop treatments for
cellular damage caused by lack of oxygen.
In humans, lack of oxygen can be caused by
heart and lung diseases as well as loss of
blood, and oxygen deprivation plays a key
role in preventing cancerous tumors from
responding to radiation and chemotherapy
"Identifying the molecular mechanisms
and metabolic pathways encoding the anoxia
response in the male worms could help us
chart the critical anoxia-response pathways
that may be important in human cells as
well," he says.
"This may have a profound outcome
on how we manage patients with stroke,
heart disease and cancer."
Since TAMS opened its doors in
1988, students have been provided with
research opportunities in UNT faculty
members' laboratories. Many students start
research the summer after their first two
semesters at UNT with stipends provided
by the academy to stay on campus and
work in the labs, but Mohan volunteered to
work in Padilla's lab during his first semes-
ter at TAMS.
Padilla says it was a "delight" to have
Mohan in her laboratory.
"Throughout his time here at UNT, it
was nice to see Desh develop his academic
and scientific skills. He has the potential to
be a world leader in the field and is quite
remarkable academically," she says.
Mohan says his experience in Padilla's
lab helped him change his career goals.
"I was going to just earn a medical
degree. Now I may earn an M.D. and Ph.D.
so I can do research in addition to being a
doctor," he says.
He says the TAMS research program
"is one of the greatest things TAMS offers
"I can carry over what I've learned in
the lab to any career," he says.
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University of North Texas. UNT Research, Volume 16, 2006, periodical, 2006; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29777/m1/46/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting University Relations, Communications & Marketing department for UNT.