Darren Parker

Undergraduate Researcher

Major: Biochemistry; Minor: Chemistry
Worked in the Lab: February 2013 - July 2014

Current position: Graduate student at MIT

Funding: William T. and Lynn Jackson Summer Scholarship (2013)
Awarded "Best Undergraduate Thesis in Biochemistry (2014)"

Email: dj.parker34@gmail.com


Bhate A*, Parker DJ*, Bebee TW, Ahn J, Arif W, Rashan EH, Chorghade S, Chau A, Lee JH, Anakk S, Carstens RP, Xiao X and Kalsotra A (2015) ESRP2 controls an adult splicing program in hepatocytes to support postnatal liver maturation. Nat. Commun. 6:8768 | DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9768 | * denotes equal authors

"DNA Catalysis of a Normally Disfavored RNA Hydrolysis Reaction", D. J. Parker, Y. Xiao, J. M. Aguilar, and S. K. Silverman, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2013, 135, 8472-8475.

[PubMed entry] [pdf] [Sup Info]


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Formally my name is Darren, but if you ever meet me you can call me either ‘handsome’ or ‘your majesty’. Kidding aside I am entering my final year majoring in Biochemistry. This is my second research lab as I was under the guidance of Scott Silverman for almost two years. Yes I really do like nucleic acids. At the UofI I have been heavily involved with Alpha Chi Sigma, Professional Chem Fraternity, of which I am currently president. I have also taught Chem 102, Chem 199, and volunteer at Provena Health. In my free time I am a pretty big sports/fitness guy and I am really into international soccer. If you are looking for a way into my heart just ask me about how Ronaldo is better than Messi. I am also a closet video game nerd and have built my own computer (and this website!). Although the future for me isn’t exactly for sure, I know I will be continuing my education in either the medical or biomedical sciences.

I am currently working on a few different projects. My main project for Summer 2013 will be to find alternative splicing event conservation between the Mouse and Human in a development context in the liver. Past studies have shown that very few homologous genes are alternatively spliced in the same pattern between the two species over the course of embryonic to adult development. Preliminary findings using RNA-seq and RT-PCR assays are showing that there are in fact a large number of gene events regulated in the same way for both species. My next goal will be to determine how changes in RNA Binding proteins known to be associated with splicing change at both the transcript and expression level. Finally I’m also learning to take care of a mouse line that has a transgene for the Rbfox2 protein. This protein, a known splicing regulator, will be able to be overexpressed in both a heart and liver specific manner. The goal for these projects will be to get an overall picture of the regulatory programs of the liver.