Major and research focus:
Nawash is a biology major with a minor in chemistry. Her research is on the brain and how stem cell technology can be used to provide solutions to brain deterioration.
Project title and synopsis:
Nawash’s project was titled “Manipulating proteolipid protein expression to modulate disorders of myelin.” She worked with Paul Tesar, PhD, a professor in the Department of Genetics/Genome Sciences within the CWRU School of Medicine.
Nawash's project synopsis: "Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease (PMD) is a devastating leukodystrophy that leaves afflicted patients with motor deficits, hypotonia, ataxia, cognitive impairment and early mortality. There is currently no known cure or therapy for this life-altering disease. PMD is caused by mutations in a major myelin protein, proteolipid protein 1 (PLP1). Interestingly, however, deletion mutations of PLP1 lead to a milder phenotype of the disease in humans. The goal of this project, therefore, is to utilize the PLP1-null phenotype as a therapeutic strategy for severe PMD. Remarkably, the data I have worked to contribute to over the past few years and this summer have demonstrated that suppressing levels of mutant PLP1 may be an essential tool for generating the first universal therapeutic for patients with PMD."
Research mentor and funding source:
Nawash's research mentor was Paul Tesar, PhD, from Genetics and Genome Sciences, CWRU School of Medicine
Nawash was funded by SOURCE through the Provost Summer Undergraduate Research Grant (PSURG) and the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (AHSS) program.
Biggest learning moment while doing research:
About her biggest learning moment, Nawash said, "I learned how to speak as an ”academic and the team of graduate students in our lab have been critical to my success in this area."
Service and leadership at CWRU:
Nawash is a volunteer patient advocate at UH Rainbows Center for Women and Children. She has also served on the TEDxCWRU leadership team that organizes TED Talks on CWRU's campus.
Aspirations for the future:
Nawash graduates in January 2020 and will continue research in Paul Tesar's lab during the spring 2020 semester. She hopes to enter medical school in summer 2020 with the eventual goal of becoming a medical doctor!