Tendon Tissue Team: Jett Murray
Junior, Biological Engineering
Hometown: Preston, Idaho
Jett’s Hands-On Experience is Made Possible Through:
Beckman Scholars Program – Students receive up to $21,000 over the course of two summers and an academic year to conduct undergraduate research. An additional $5,000 goes to the lab in which the student is conducting research.
Beckman Scholar Jett Murray’s research focuses on the actions of the protein beta-catenin in the formation of cadherins, or connections between adjacent cells that allow for the communication of different signals between each other.
“If one cell receives a message, that cell can communicate to the cell next to it, and that cell can then proliferate and develop as necessary,” he said. “Beta-catenin could be helping to tell other cells to develop into tendon tissues.”
Historically, beta-catenin has been prevalent in many cancer studies because of its ability to move across a cell’s nuclear membrane and accumulate in a cell’s nucleus, driving rapid cell growth and initiating cancer formation.
Murray said beta-catenin is also being evaluated for its potential to facilitate tendon tissue development in the context of its ability to translocate into the nucleus of the cell.
Murray came to the U of I with an intent to go to medical school after graduation, but his work in the lab has helped illuminate the prospect of becoming a biological engineer.
“In biological engineering, you can kind of do whatever you want,” he said. “Whether you want to pursue environmental, biomedical or agricultural engineering, you can find your start here.”