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Polygence Scholar2023
Manvik Johar's profile

Manvik Johar

Class of 2026Campbell, California


Hello, my name is Manvik Johar! I'll research the field of epigenetics in my research project, learning specifically about how the epigenome impacts our personality and the way we think, along with how changes in the epigenome are brought about. I wanted to research about this topic because by understanding our epigenome we can understand how to bring meaningful change in ourselves. This is a very interesting field as it decides our perspective on important decisions in the future such as the effectiveness of gene therapies such as the debate on heritable genome editing. For this project I will be writing a research paper. After my project is complete, I want to explore more interesting aspects of biology and am interested in maybe even animating the content of my research paper into a video in the near future.


  • "How can healthy lifestyle choices such as diet lower the chances of breast cancer in people carrying the germline BRCA1 mutation?" with mentor Garrett (Nov. 26, 2023)

Project Portfolio

How can healthy lifestyle choices such as diet lower the chances of breast cancer in people carrying the germline BRCA1 mutation?

Started June 4, 2023

Abstract or project description

BRCA-1 is a growth regulating and tumor suppressing gene with a plethora of other functions. However, a mutation in this gene can cause early onset breast cancer in the people who carry it, with an occurrence rate of around 70%. However, an Italian study conducted in 2020 offers a refreshing solution to a problem that has largely been solved through surgery: our diet. In the study a group of women were prescribed to follow a Mediterranean cuisine centered diet with a reduced intake of protein, animal products, and sugary foods and beverages. At the end of the study this group of women reported an overall lesser triglyceride count along with lesser hip and waist circumference. However, most importantly, they reported an approximate 11% reduction in serum IGF-1. IGF-1 (Insulin-like Growth Hormone1) is a known tumor proliferator and is significant to our research because one of the roles of regular (wild-type) BRCA-1 is to regulate and inhibit the transcription of IGF1R (IGF-1 Receptor). Mutant BRCA-1, however, is unable to regulate the transcription of IGF1R, thereby increasing the amount of IGF1R in a cell’s plasma membrane–so when IGF-1 binds to IGF1R, the cell’s chances of becoming malignant increase. Therefore by controlling IGF-1 levels through a specific diet we may be able to impact BRCA1 penetrance. To ascertain this connection we will compare IGF1R levels in breast cancer cases caused by the BRCA-1 deficiency mutation and breast cancer cases caused by some other reason. We will additionally look into the epigenetic regulation of the IGF-1 locus as an attempt to find a connection between IGF-1 and our diet. By doing this our research hopes to elucidate diet as a form of preventive healthcare, offering BRCA-1 mutation carriers another therapeutic option.