We’re back!

It’s our first full week back at Bates and the Williams Lab is in full swing. Michelle, Nancy, and I are working hard to collect data for each of our theses as well as begin the writing process. My thesis research is now focusing on the use of ChIP to investigate protein-DNA interactions. I am looking specifically at the proteins Ahr1b and Nfe2 and their role in acting as transcription factors for Nrf genes, and hedgehog signaling and hematopoietic genes respectively. ChIP utilizes antibodies to selectively pull out the protein of interest and the DNA that it was bound to,allowing us to analyze either component. As a follow-up we are quantitatively analyzing with the DNA with qPCR to see which genes are being activated or repressed by Ahr1b or Nfe2.

Nancy is continuing to work on her research investigating the importance of Nrf1 and glutathione in the quenching of reactive oxygen species during development. She is also dosing zebrafish embryos with phthalates that can cause oxidative stress in the organism. By implementing a loss of function assay with morpholinos she can see how Nrf1 and glutathione related genes are involved in the quenching mechanism. Finally, Michelle is continuing her work with the confocal microscope. She is focusing on the development of the inner ear and how oxidative stress may affect the formation of important hair cells within the otoliths. Michelle is developing a protocol to dose zebrafish embryos and then observe them with the confocal.

It has been very interesting to see how our projects have changed over time. This semester is likely to fly by quickly with all of the work we have to do during the upcoming semester, and I think
we are all excited to see were each of our projects will end up. It shaping up to a great
semester in the Williams Lab, we will check back in soon.