Pei-Ju Liu, MS - Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award (2019)

By ASN Staff

Name: Pei-Ju Liu, MS

Institution: The Research Foundation for SUNY

Grant: Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award (2019)

Project Title: The Role of Myo1e- and Clathrin-Dependent Endocytic Trafficking in Podocyte Health and Disease
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • The goal of this proposal is to build a proteomic and imaging analysis workflow so that we can determine whether specific mutations in podocyte proteins involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis are deleterious and may cause steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS).


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • With the help from the grant, I will study how clathrin-mediated endocytosis contributes to podocyte function. I will use SRNS-associated MYO1E mutations as our disease model and will determine how expression of mutant Myo1e variants affects endocytosis in podocytes. In addition, I will aim to identify Myo1e-dependent endocytic cargos and signaling pathways and to build a systematic, image-analysis-based workflow for classifying SRNS-associated mutations in endocytic proteins for diagnosis and evaluation of therapeutic approaches. 


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • I hope that my work will lead to better understanding of the genetic and cellular basis of MYO1E –associated disease and hopefully help develop diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for SRNS patients carrying endocytic protein mutations.


What are your short and long-term career goals?

  • At the end of the grant period, I hope to complete my PhD dissertation projects and earn my PhD degree in Cell and Developmental Biology. After that, I am seeking an academic or industry postdoc position to study cell biology and the cytoskeleton. Further, I want to be a research project manager who develop basic research projects to solve clinical needs.

What inspired you to focus your research on the kidney?

  • I was fascinated by the finger-like foot processes on podocytes. This actin-based structure is highly sensitive to membrane tension and actin cytoskeleton reorganization. My interest in kidney research is further supported by acquiring beautiful glomerular and cell images through microscopy.


What are the major challenges to beginning a career in kidney research today?

  • The cell and molecular biology based kidney disease research is a relatively small field right now. We should be able to reach out to more cell biologists to expand this area of research and ask additional fundamental questions about disease-causing mechanisms.


What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

  • This is my second ASN predoctoral fellowship application. Based on the experience of first year submission, I read reviewer’s opinions carefully and adjusted accordingly. Don’t let grant rejecting stop you from what you want to achieve on research. Don’t forget to double check everything you do with your PI or faculties. They are the best go-to people with tons of experiences and good suggestions.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • My interest in biology started from ecology to microbiology and finally evolved to cell biology. I used to imagine that I will be someone like Dr. Jane Goodall studies Chimpanzee in Africa.


In my free time I like to…

  • Go hiking, ice skating, cross-country skiing and photographing.
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Name: Pei-Ju Liu, MS

Institution: The Research Foundation for SUNY

Grant: Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Award (2019)

Project Title: The Role of Myo1e- and Clathrin-Dependent Endocytic Trafficking in Podocyte Health and Disease
 

How would you sum up your research in one sentence?

  • The goal of this proposal is to build a proteomic and imaging analysis workflow so that we can determine whether specific mutations in podocyte proteins involved in clathrin-mediated endocytosis are deleterious and may cause steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS).


Provide a brief overview of the research you will conduct with help from the grant.

  • With the help from the grant, I will study how clathrin-mediated endocytosis contributes to podocyte function. I will use SRNS-associated MYO1E mutations as our disease model and will determine how expression of mutant Myo1e variants affects endocytosis in podocytes. In addition, I will aim to identify Myo1e-dependent endocytic cargos and signaling pathways and to build a systematic, image-analysis-based workflow for classifying SRNS-associated mutations in endocytic proteins for diagnosis and evaluation of therapeutic approaches. 


What impact do you hope your research will have on patients?

  • I hope that my work will lead to better understanding of the genetic and cellular basis of MYO1E –associated disease and hopefully help develop diagnostic and therapeutic solutions for SRNS patients carrying endocytic protein mutations.


What are your short and long-term career goals?

  • At the end of the grant period, I hope to complete my PhD dissertation projects and earn my PhD degree in Cell and Developmental Biology. After that, I am seeking an academic or industry postdoc position to study cell biology and the cytoskeleton. Further, I want to be a research project manager who develop basic research projects to solve clinical needs.

What inspired you to focus your research on the kidney?

  • I was fascinated by the finger-like foot processes on podocytes. This actin-based structure is highly sensitive to membrane tension and actin cytoskeleton reorganization. My interest in kidney research is further supported by acquiring beautiful glomerular and cell images through microscopy.


What are the major challenges to beginning a career in kidney research today?

  • The cell and molecular biology based kidney disease research is a relatively small field right now. We should be able to reach out to more cell biologists to expand this area of research and ask additional fundamental questions about disease-causing mechanisms.


What advice would you give to others to encourage them to apply for this grant funding?

  • This is my second ASN predoctoral fellowship application. Based on the experience of first year submission, I read reviewer’s opinions carefully and adjusted accordingly. Don’t let grant rejecting stop you from what you want to achieve on research. Don’t forget to double check everything you do with your PI or faculties. They are the best go-to people with tons of experiences and good suggestions.


Something you may not know about me is…

  • My interest in biology started from ecology to microbiology and finally evolved to cell biology. I used to imagine that I will be someone like Dr. Jane Goodall studies Chimpanzee in Africa.


In my free time I like to…

  • Go hiking, ice skating, cross-country skiing and photographing.
Date:
Monday, June 17, 2019