Student Research Projects

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Dr. Laurie B. Cook's Laboratory

Tameciah Browne (M.S. Student) & Katie Courtney (B.S. Student)
The expansion and development of adipose tissue involves a cellular transformation from pre-adipocyte to adipocyte that is accompanied by the transient evolution of a single primary cilium on the developing cell. To better understand the cellular signaling pathways regulated by those cilia, a method for isolating them is being developed in preparation for mass spectrometry analysis of ciliary protein fractions.

Bianca Camillaci (M.S. Student)
When differentiating adipocytes display a transient primary cilium, the melanin-concentrating hormone receptor translocates to it, presumably as a mechanism of regulating MCH signaling. This research focuses on identifying candidate pre-adipocyte 3T3-L1 genes that are differentially regulated by MCH in the presence or absence of primary cilia. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Rongkun Shen's Lab.

Kelly Anderson (B.S. Student)
When differentiating adipocytes display a transient primary cilium, the melanin-concentrating hormone receptor translocates to it, presumably as a mechanism of regulating MCH signaling. This research focuses on identifying candidate pre-adipocyte 3T3-L1 genes that are differentially regulated by MCH in the presence or absence of primary cilia. This work is being done in collaboration with Dr. Rongkun Shen's Lab.

Jordan Johnson (M.S. student)
Melanin-concentrating hormone causes cytoskeletal rearrangements resulting in rounding of pre-adipocytes in culture, which is an indication that this appetite hormone may contribute to the expansion and differentiation of adipose tissue. This research is an extension of previously published work from our lab, (Cook, Shum & Portwood, 2013), and will investigate the molecular pathways responsible for MCH-mediated actin rearrangements using pharmacological agents and scratch-wound assays.

Dr. Adam Rich's Laboratory

Meghan Denny (M.S. Student)
Anoctamin 1 codes for a calcium activated chloride selective ion channel that is involve in a variety of physiological functions ranging from saliva formation to pain receptor activity to gastrointestinal motility. Three ANO1 transcripts are identified in the latest zebrafish genome assembly but expression has not been confirmed. Meghan is focusing on identification of specific splice variant(s) expressed in the zebrafish gastrointestinal tract and will determine the full length sequence of zebrafish ANO1

Jon Sleeper (B.S. Student)
Muscular contraction of the gastrointestinal smooth muscles is rhythmic and highly coordinated. Patterns of motility are observed, with periods of high activity or low activity. Jon is developing novel imaging chambers that immobilize zebrafish larva over long time periods so that motility patterns can be quantified during long time periods.

Casey Attenberger (B.S. Student)& Joseph Pancari (B.S. Student)
We have developed an anoctamin 1 transgenic zebrafish using CRISPR technology to determine the role for ANO1 in gastrointestinal motility. Since little is known about ANO1 function in other systems it is important to know where ANO1 is expressed. Casey and Joe are using immunohistochemistry to determine expression in adult zebrafish using sagittal and coronal sections.

Bailey Majtyka (B.S. Student)
Gastrointestinal transit time is a functional measurement for gastrointestinal motility. Several transit assays have been published. It is important to know the strengths and weaknesses for reach assay so that experiments can be optimized. Bailey is replicating these assay’s to determine if each yields similar transit times, and to help the lab optimize results.

Dr. Rey Sia's Laboratory

Imran Tahir (M.S. Student), Lydia Arthur (B.S. student) & Brandon Pratt (B.S. student)
The major mitochondrial nuclease, Nuc1p, the 5' flap endonuclease, Rad27p, and Ku70p, required for non-homologous end joining, are believed to be key regulators of mitochondrial DNA repair mechanisms in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The research is focused on identifying the role of these proteins in mitochondrial DNA repair mechanisms involving both spontaneous and induced direct repeat recombination events.

Brooke Scott (B.S. student) & Joshua Dailey (B.S. student)
The Ku80p protein is part of Ku70p-Ku80p complex required for the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) repair pathway in the nucleus. NHEJ is the major double-strand break repair pathway in higher eukaryotes. The research focuses on determining whether loss of Ku80p leads to impaired respiration and altered spontaneous direct repeat recombination events in the mitochondria of the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Last Updated 1/24/18

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