Student Profile: Kristina Tarsis

New Beginnings

Kristina TarsisKristina Tarsis first came to Israel on the Birthright trip when she was 18. Born in Kiev, she moved to London to live with her grandmother as a teen, and later earned a BSc degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.
“I met my future husband on Birthright. He decided to stay in Israel and volunteer in the IDF. After graduating, I joined him in Haifa where we are both university students. Sebastian is in the Department of Music and a member of the Arab-Jewish Orchestra, and I am doing what I love best, studying molecular biology in an exciting lab setting.”
Kristina joined the Gene Regulation in Development and Evolution Laboratory in the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, headed by Dr. Smadar Ben Tabou de Leon. “A recent breakthrough at the lab revealed similarities between the formation of blood vessels in humans and the building of skeletons in sea urchins. This discovery inspired the study of other genes involved in sea urchin skeletogenesis, such as the PITX gene. Defects in human PITX are associated with various birth defects and cancer progression. Understanding PITX’s role in a simpler model system could lead to innovative cancer treatments.”

Kristina is pursuing an MSc thesis track at the Department of Marine Biology. She is a recipient of a University merit scholarship.


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