Matthew Crisp ’06 spent the first two years after college as a researcher at the National Cancer Institute. Working in the yeast genetics lab, Matt and his colleagues were examining chromosome segregation defects. “When they fail to separate perfectly,” Matt says, “cancer is often a byproduct. In some cancer cells, the ordered separation of chromosomes is defective, which leads to an upset in the delicate genetic balance.”
Matt was a published author in the May 2008 issue of Genetics journal for work conducted in that lab.
Matt moved to Missouri, where he completed a summer research rotation in a Washington University laboratory examining an aggregating protein found in a subset of ALS patients. He is now pursuing his medical school training—the first step toward an MD/Ph.D. at Washington University School of Medicine. The biology (biochemistry concentration) and behavioral neuroscience major got his start with genetics research in Professor Rosemary Ford’s biology lab, and presented his microarray work at the 17th annual Sigma Xi research conference in his senior year. For his undergraduate research project, Matthew used yeast microarrays — basically a slide with yeast genes stamped onto it — to examine gene expression. “Yeast are model organisms that stand in for human cells,” Matt explains, “It’s easier to genetically manipulate a simple yeast cell and study basic biology than attempt to perform the same manipulations in higher, more complicated organisms such as humans.”