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Hypaitia Rauch is awarded the Outstanding Thesis Award

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Hypaitia Rauch is awarded the Outstanding Thesis Award
Hypaitia Rauch, a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Biology program, was awarded Oakland University’s 2013 Outstanding Thesis Award. Her thesis was titled “Comprehensive Analysis and Evolutionary Conservation of Alternative Splicing Events of Plant Arginine/Serine-Rich (SR) Proteins.” Rauch is now undergoing Officer’s training in the US Army, and plans to pursue a career in the medical research with the Veterans Administration.


Hypaitia Rauch being awarded the Outstanding Thesis Award by Provost James Lentini at a banquet in Meadow Brook Hall.

A paper arising from Rauch’s research, “Discovery and Expression Analysis of Alternative Splicing Events Conserved Among Plant SR Proteins,” was published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution (Volume 31, Pages 605-613, 2014). Rauch’s mentor is CBR member Shailesh Lal (Department of Biological Sciences). Lal’s lab is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (1221984). The abstract of Rauch’s award-winning thesis is given below.

The high frequency of alternative splicing among plant Serine/Arginine-rich (SR) family of proteins has been linked to important roles in gene regulation during development and in response to environmental stress. In this report, the genomes of maize and sorghum have been searched and the manual annotation of all the SR proteins have been performed. The experimental validation of gene structure by RT-PCR analysis revealed, with few exceptions, that SR genes produced multiple isoforms of transcripts by alternative splicing. Despite sharing high structural similarity and conserved positions of the introns, alternative splicing profiles of vast majority of SR genes are not conserved between maize and sorghum. These include many transcript isoforms discovered by RT-PCR and not represented in extant EST collection. The occurrence of several isoforms of maize and sorghum SR mRNAs have been determined and that these isoforms display evolutionary conservation of splicing events with their homologous SR genes in Arabidopsis and moss. Most importantly, the data indicates an important role of both 5' and 3' untranslated region (UTR) in the regulation of SR gene expression. These observations potentially show importance of this process in evolution and adaptation of plants to land.