Immunocytochemistry (ICC) — Post #3

Immunocytochemistry is the backbone of my research and for the last two weeks I have been learning the procedures and methodology behind this important piece of my work here this summer. One of the possible heritable difference between reproductively responsive and non-responsive mice is the difference in the number and activity of GnRH neurons involved in initial stages of the HPG (Hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal) axis. The way that we see the difference between neurons in the reproductively responsive or non-responsive mice is through immunocytochemistry or ICC. ICC uses engineered antibodies to bind to proteins of interest.

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The Beginning Stages: Reading, exploring, practicing- Post #2

The past two weeks my mind has been occupied not with my own brilliant ideas, but with the brilliant intellectual research contributions of my predecessors. As with any research project, especially to one relatively new to a lab, I have to learn all about the background information and the fundamental concepts surrounding my research project. This synthetic review of lab literature not only helps me understand the conceptual side of my research project, but it will undoubtedly keep me from making mistakes in my method and the execution of experiments testing my hypotheses.

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Introduction- Post #1

Hello readers,

My name is Adryan Flores and I am a rising sophomore here at the College of William and Mary. I am doing research in Professor Heideman’s lab this summer under the Chappell Fellowship. My research has to do with the variation in reproductive strategies between wild and lab ┬ámice. As it turns out, there are specific photoperiodic effects as to when mice are reproductively active or inactive. Mice that exhibit this photoperiodicity are reproductively inactivated ┬áduring the winter months–when the days are shorter. This ability to turn off and on based on the length of the day is genetically inherited, and our lab maintains populations of mice selected for their photoperiodic response. The problem with the lab populations is that the mice in captivity are in drastically different environment than the mice in the wild. Lab mice have unlimited food, no predators, and a warm place to stay at all times. The genetic reaction to these conditions may serve detrimental as a means of using the mice as a model organism if it drastically changes the way that lab mice exhibit specific neuroendocrine pathway reactions compared to the wild. Therefore, I will catch wild-mice and compare them to our lab population by measuring the number of GnRH neurons in the brain. These neurons allow for the secretion of the reproductive hormone GnRH. Therefore, the quantity of neurons in the brain are indicative of reproductive state. The results will hopefully demonstrate the photoperiodic variation between lab mice and wild-caught mice.

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