Undergraduate Research Explorer
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Abishariga Thileepan

Abishariga is a fourth-year student in the Faculty of Arts & Science specializing in Pharmacology and Biomedical Toxicology. Abishariga undertook PCL397Y0: Research Abroad in Pharmacology and Toxicology as part of the Summer Research Exchange Program (SREP). During her research exchange, Abishariga worked with Dr. Monika Oberer at the University of Graz on a project investigating the molecular basis of the interaction between the ATGL (Adipose Triacyl Glycerol Lipase) enzyme and its co-activator CGI-58, and its inhibitor G0S2.

Through this experience, Abishariga further developed her laboratory skills as she was focused on designing a primer to understand the deletions in crucial amino acids that are essential for the interaction within the ATGL/CGI-58 complex. The findings from this research project conclusively demonstrated that the interaction between ATGL and CGI-58 was independent of the attached tags, contributing to our understanding of this vital regulatory process in lipid metabolism. Abishariga had the opportunity to present these findings through a report and presentation to the Strubui Lab members at the Institute of Molecular Bioscience, University of Graz, ultimately, improving her research communication skills.

Reflecting on her research experience, Abishariga shared that the key lesson for her was “the importance of translating theoretical knowledge into practical application.” She further explained:

“This experience deepened my appreciation for the scientific method, experimental design and critical thinking. It taught me to navigate the intricacies of conducting experiments, troubleshoot challenges that inevitably arise, and rigorously analyze data. Simultaneously, I improved my communication abilities by presenting my findings to both peers and professors, enhancing my capacity as an effective communicator. In essence, my undergraduate research not only enriched my understanding of my field but also equipped me with a versatile skill set that I can apply in various academic and professional contexts.”

Abishariga feels her collaboration and time management skills have been strengthened through this experience as well, preparing her for her future research experiences and career in Pharmacology as she plans to pursue a Master’s (MSc) and then a PhD.

Research Type(s): International Research Experiences, Summer Research Programs