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Karla T

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)


Genetics and Molecular Biology, Biology.


My name is Karla Troncoso and I am a PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am part of a lab that uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism to study epigenetics and chromatin structure. My dissertation project is centered around DNA replication and genome integrity. I am interested in a specific post translational modification that seems to be involved in effective DNA replication. I do a lot of confocal microscopy and have lots of cool images I would love to share with you! A little more about myself, I was born and raised in Quito, Ecuador and I moved to Florida when I was in 8th grade. I graduated high school in South Florida and went to the University of Florida to get my undergraduate degree in Chemistry. When I am not at lab I spend a lot of time with my dog Atlas. We love going on walks together and he enjoys any and every body of water. Aside from that, I have recently been enjoying the peacefulness and simplicity of farm life (playing Stardew Valley).

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Epigenetics and Histone Post Translational Modifications Scientific Review

The DNA inside the cell nucleus is about 2 meters long, yet it fits inside the very small nucleus of the cell. In order to make this happen cells have to dramatically compact their DNA into structures called chromatin. The way that the DNA is packaged has a lot of influence over which genes get expressed and which don't, this is called epigenetics. The most basic unit of chromatin is the nucleosome, which is made up of small proteins called histones. Histones have flexible tails that can be modified and every modification has an effect on how chromatin is organized. For this project, you will pick a specific histone post translational modification, we will read scientific literature about it together, and you will write a review based on what you learned. Reading and understanding scientific literature is a really important skill to have as a scientist and together you will learn the skill of gathering information and synthesizing your own scientific writing!

Coding skills

R, Java, and MatLab

Languages I know

Spanish, native language

Teaching experience

I have been an online tutor for a few years now, with a focus on math and science. I participated in mentoring high school students with an interest in a career in chemistry through the American Chemical Society's Project SEED for two summers.


Work experience

L&L Biotechnology (2021 - 2022)
Research Scientist
United States Department of Agriculture (2019 - 2021)
Biological Science Aid


University of Florida (UF)
BS Bachelor of Science (2020)
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Genetics and Molecular Biology

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