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Nedda Saremi: Graduate Student

Biomolecular Engineering
Degree Program: 
Ph.D. in Biomolecular Engineering and Bioinformatics
Temecula, CA
Undergraduate Institution: 
University of California Riverside
Beth Shapiro and Ed Green
Nedda Saremi, biomolecular engineering

What brought you to UC Santa Cruz? Why did you choose Baskin Engineering?

What brought me to UCSC was not only the campus and the scenery, but the BME department. The field of genomics has grown so much in the past 20 years and it’s exciting to be working at this campus which is so integral to the field.

Describe your research

I study different animal species both living and extinct by analyzing their genomes. One project, specifically, is studying the genomic health of puma populations. Over the past few hundred years, the range of puma populations has greatly diminished, and populations have become more isolated from one another with fewer successful migrations of pumas between populations. That means within these isolated populations there is a limited availability of mates. Thus a greater chance that when two pumas do mate, they will be more closely related. The result is a greater numbers of inbreeding events, and over time, decreased reproductive health of the species.

What are the applications of your research?

With the puma project, we are focusing on conservation. With the genome, we can look at the amount of genomic variations in populations and individuals and learn about So we were able to look at the populations that are nearby each other and say, if we open up a corridor between them, we can help restore some genetic diversity, and also allow for more migration between these populations. That which could decrease the instances of inbreeding that we were commonly seeing, and help revive the health of the populations.

What do you like about Baskin Engineering/UC Santa Cruz?

The sense of collaboration and community. It’s been fun to collaborate with labs on campus to get blood samples for DNA sequencing from the SC Puma Projects, or get long reads from Nanopore sequencing technology to help with genome assembly. There’s so much impressive research going on at the school, and it’s great to be able to collaborate and come up with ways to combine different fields of research into a common end goal.