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Michal Ruprecht

College sophomore, Univ. of Michigan

About me

I'm a first generation American and I’m passionate about diverse learning environments, learning about other people's struggles, and emphasizing social justice in underserved communities like Flint, MI. I'm looking for opportunities that include or combine my passions for neuroscience, medicine, and social justice.

Latest Projects

  • Flint Justice Partnership

    A group of students and I co-founded an organization called the Flint Justice Partnership. FJP at the University of Michigan aims to serve and connect with the Flint community and educate UM students about the Flint water crisis. FJP partners with the Michigan Community Scholars Program to uphold values of community service and social justice.
    Click here to learn more about FJP.

  • Effect of KLF13 and 9 on the regulation of cell cycle and apoptotic genes

    I received a research scholarship from the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department at the University of Michigan to conduct research with MCDB Chair and Professor Dr. Robert Denver on Krüppel-like factors (Klfs), which are a family of 17 zinc finger transcription factors. They are grouped into three subfamilies based on the sequences of their N-terminal domains, which comprise sites for interaction with coregulators. Klfs of subfamily 3 (KLF9, KLF10, KLF11, KLF13, KLF14, and KLF16) can act as transcriptional activators or repressors depending on the cellular context.
    It is well known that KLF9 has important functions in the postnatal development of CNS, it promotes and maintain the differentiated state of neurons, and is thus implicated in the loss of regenerative capacity of adult mammalian neurons. KLF13, similar to KLF9, inhibits the neurite outgrowth of the adult mouse hippocampus-derived cell line HT22 and axons of hippocampal neurons in primary cultures. the objective of the present project is to investigate the effect of KLF13 and 9 on the activity of Casp3 and E2F2 promoters using the dual-luciferase reporter assay.

  • Production of a new series of ligands with potential to act as water remediators

    In this Flint water crisis-inspired and green chemistry research project, a group of high schoolers, including me, created a molecule that binds to other molecules, called a ligand, capable of removing harmful substances from tainted water. We worked with Mark Benvenuto, Ph.D. at the University of Detroit Mercy to uphold the principles of green chemistry by creating a ligand that is cheap, easy-to-use, and environmentally-friendly. Our goal was to positively impact Michiganders affected by the Flint water crisis.
    Our research showed that if our ligand could pull metal ions into a nonpolar solution called monoglyme, it should be able to pull metal ions out of aqueous solution.
    I received the 2017 American Chemical Society Ciba Travel Grant in Green Chemistry as the first high schooler recipient. This grant covered the costs for me to attend the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. My abstract was accepted into the Sci-Mix and Division of Environmental Chemistry poster sessions of the national conference, with the Sci-Mix poster session consisting of abstracts selected by division program chairs and represents the most exceptional abstracts submitted to participating divisions.
    Our research was published in Physical Sciences Reviews.
    Additional information: My group and I also presented at the ACS Central Regional Conference in Dearborn, Michigan as the only high school group there. Click here to view our abstract from the conference.

    Synthesis of three-legged tri-dentate podand ligands incorporating long-chain aliphatic moieties, for water remediators, and for isolating metal ions in non-aqueous solution
  • Controlling gene expression in an in-vivo model organism

    I received a full-tuition scholarship and conducted extensive, ten-day, graduate-level developmental neuroscience research with a group of high schoolers. I collaborated with the scientific community, including predecessors in the program, to present research and publish data. We conducted our research at Coastal Marine Biolabs through the NeuroLab Program, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health, and we were supervised by Ralph Imondi, Ph.D. and Linda Santschi, Ph.D.

  • Role of the microRNA-183/96/182 cluster in pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced keratitis

    I cold-called over 100 professors about research positions that interested me and I chose to work alongside Shunbin Xu, M.D., Ph.D. at the Wayne State University School of Medicine to conduct immunology-focused research. microRNA is a newly-acknowledged level of gene expression regulation and bacterial keratitis is a corneal infection caused by bacteria commonly affecting contact-lens wearers. We specifically examined pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced keratitis, which causes blindness and visual disabilities.
    We focused on the role of the microRNA-183/96/182 cluster and ways in which it helps regulate the innate immune response to pseudomonas aeruginosa-induced keratitis infection. We also examined the potential of the anti-microRNAs, which are found in the cluster knockdown, to shield the cornea from unfavorable effects of the disease. Our research is aimed to identify new treatment strategies and therapeutic targets for the disease and other antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and tumors that bypass the immune system.