ms thesis publication story

Springer Nature Journals Publishes a Study from KGI Master of Science Students

As part of the Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) Master of Science in Applied Life Sciences (MS) program, Gloria Bartolo, Leandra Gonzalez, and Saleem Alameh published a paper June 15 in the journal BMC Microbiology, part of BioMed Central Springer Nature journals.

Their paper is entitled “Identification of Glucocorticoid Receptor in Drosophila melanogaster.” The trio worked in the lab of KGI Associate Professor Mikhail Martchenko Shilman while conducting their research.

Alameh, who graduated from the MS program in 2018, recently completed his first year in the Doctor of Medicine program at Michigan State University.

Bartolo graduated from the MS program in 2020, and this study was the focus of her thesis. She is currently working as a research assistant in the Shilman laboratory as she prepares to apply for PhD programs across the country.

Gonzalez is entering her second year in the MS program.

“I am so proud of these students for writing this paper entirely on their own!” said Anastasia Levitin, professor of practice in translational medicine at KGI. “The MS program teaches students to translate scientific research into medically focused knowledge, and this is what they did in the study.”

The study identified the fruit fly and mosquito gene that structurally resembles the human glucocorticoid receptor and is functionally necessary for the steroid-mediated immunosuppression to fungal infections.

Human glucocorticoid receptor is an evolutionary-conserved protein that, upon binding to steroid-based therapies (such as cortisol), leads to immunosuppression and susceptibility to fungal pathogens. Thus, Drosophila may be used as a model to study human glucocorticoid receptor and steroid-mediated immunosuppression.

“Gloria and Saleem had already done such an incredible amount of work for this paper and I was fortunate enough to have data that helped create an even stronger story,” Gonzalez said. “It’s inspiring to be in a lab where I have such great lab mates as well as a great PI.”

“It makes me work harder every day and has made such an impact on me, not only as a KGI student, but as well as a student of research.”

KGI’s MS program provides scientific training in translational and clinical research skills and provides a deep understanding of the context within which medical science is translated for societal benefit.

Students successfully transition to a variety of careers in research and development of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, as well as clinical and academic laboratories. The program also prepares students for doctoral degrees (MD/DO, PhD, PharmD, etc.) by combining rigorous graduate-level courses with a yearlong biomedical or clinical research projects.

Click here to access the open article.