Lindsay Holden


    I am a PhD student in the Brown Lab at Portland State University. I study genomic structural variation, specifically copy number variation. Copy number variation is when there is more or less than the “normal” biallelic frequency of a region of DNA. Often times this is manifested as deletion or duplication of a gene.
    The prototypical example of copy number variation is human salivary amylase. Salivary amylase is found in mammalian saliva and helps break starch down into sugar. The salivary amylase gene is present in different population at 2-16 copies. Increased copies of the gene results in a higher level of salivary amylase protein. And human populations with historically high starch diets have higher copies of the salivary amylase gene. 
    I utilize zebrafish as a model for my research. We know that different strains of zebrafish have differing loads of copy numbers variants and that when exposed to the environmental pollutant polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), these strains have differing susceptibilities as larvae.
    I have shown that adults have differing expression levels of RNA expression for two biomarkers of PCB exposure. My next step is too look at ALL the genes that are expressed following PCB exposure and then to correlate changes in gene expression with copy number variation.

"Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it."
-Robert Heinlein

PhD student, Biology
ASEE SMART scholar
President, Biology Investigations & Outreach (BIO) club
Social Justice Leadership Fellow, Portland State University