The project specifically is focused on investigating DKC1 and the effects of its relative expression in the presence of different alphaviruses to gain a greater understanding of pseudouridylation and ultimately the potential effects this RNA modification may have on viral replication and infectivity in mammalian cells. “Thus far, I have found that DKC1 downregulation is conserved across different alphavirus infections, and I have shown DKC1 to be a proviral host factor in mammalian cells," Garcia said.

What sparked her interest in research was her participation in the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program in which she worked in a lab led by Michael Manzella. “This experience has been fundamental in not only my undergraduate success but also my passion to pursue a career in research,” Garcia said.

Broadly, she is looking at how this system can be used to build a basis for understanding the integration and function of composite plastic phenotypes. 

“The IU Department of Biology has always provided incredible resources to undergraduates interested in research,” Nicholson said. “From funding through many scholarships to general mentorship and encouragement to pursue research through their work with the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience, the department has been very supportive,” she said.