Dr. Anthea Aikins is originally from Ghana, West Africa. She has been in the United States for about 13 years and recently completed her thesis project in Yeast Genetics in the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Missouri-Columbia in the lab of Dr. John Cannon. Her research project focused on understanding the role of the cyclins Pcl6 and Pcl7 in the control of the cell cycle by protein phosphatase-1 (Glc7) in the single-celled eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae (budding yeast). Although this organism has been commonly used for decades for baking and brewing, we utilize its powerful molecular genetic tools to understand how the machinery of cell division is regulated. All the yeast proteins in this pathway are conserved in humans; therefore, we imagine that much of the findings will illustrate how the cell cycle is regulated in larger eukaryotic organisms.
Anthea discovered her interest in research through the MARC Program at Delaware State University, with Dr. Fatma Helmy as the MARC director, advisor and mentor. Dr. Helmy was very supportive in nurturing Anthea’s research interest. She made sure that Anthea participated in research every summer and ensured that all the MARC students presented their work at ABRCMS every year. Anthea is honored to have the opportunity to work as a peer mentor for FASEB MARC Program again. This is her second year working with FASEB as a peer mentor. She has enjoyed working with mentees and she makes sure she stays in touch with them even after the conference to help them stay on track. It is certainly a pleasure to be a peer mentor. This is a service that she enjoys being a part of because she recognizes that she is where she is today due to great mentors who helped her along the way and still offer guidance to her. Anthea is looking forward to this experience again and she knows this year will also be a success.