School has started again

Happy Fall!

It’s the start of a new school year here at Bates! This year, Alex, Jacob, Maddie, and Quang will be completing their senior theses in The Williams Lab. A big welcome to Jacob who is new to the lab!!

Alex will be finishing up the lab’s project on Aryl-hydrocarbon receptors’ (Ahr) regulation of Nfe2. Previous work by Jake and Tam has provided evidence for such a relationship; however, we have yet to show that this regulation occurs by the direct binding of Ahr to a xenobiotic response element (XRE) on Ahr. To generate evidence of direct binding, we need to get our Chromatin Immunoprecipitation procedure working optimally. This week, Alex began working with IgG (a non-specific antibody) which will act as a negative control for the antibody during immunoprecipitation. Hopefully with this addition, we’ll be able to move forward and finish up this project soon!

Maddie was raising embryos this week so she can get back to imaging. She hopes to get more experience this fall with the Scanning Electron Microscope so she can really show us how inner-ear hair-cells are structurally changed by the presence of toxins and knock-down of Nfe2. She’s also finishing up her imaging of hair and neuromast cells using the confocal microscope. Lot’s of pictures to share soon!

Quang has picked up where he left off with bioinformatics last spring. He continues to work with a huge RNA seq data set comparing gene expression across three time points, two zebrafish strains (wild-type and Nfe2 knockout), and in the presence or absence of oxidative stress. As he forms clusters of affected expression under differing conditions, he opens the doors to whole new projects for this lab. When he’s done analyzing this data set, he plans on exploring the role of Nfe2 in red blood cell formation, which has come up in several areas of his analysis already.

Finally, Jacob will be continuing Nancy’s thesis research on the effect of phthalates on early zebrafish development. Right now, he’s putting in the hours getting versed in the literature, learning zebrafish husbandry, and observing the stages of development he’ll need to be able to recognize as normal or abnormal for his work.

We hope you’ll check back in to the blog each week to follow our progress this year!