Summary of Results and Future Plans

Hello there,

It seems summer has come to an end, and a summary of my research is in order.

It was a very fast two months of research!  I certainly got a lot of work done in the lab, but I will definitely need more time to complete the entirety of the projects I’m working on.  It was definitely enjoyable working in the lab with three other lab mates and Dr. Wawersik.  After working in the lab the last two summers, I still find the research exciting as the information learned from the research in Dr. Wawersik lab on the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster,  is important for understanding how stem cells function.  Perhaps the research will one day help scientists develop stem cell therapy methods and understand cancer development.

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Brainstorming a Grant Proposal

Hello there,

Recently our lab decided to brainstorm ideas for a possible grant proposal.  Dr. Wawersik thought it might be a good idea for us four summer lab members to get an idea of how the grant process works, how grants are structured, and how one goes about writing one.  Before we got to brainstorming ideas he had us read past grant proposals that he has written that have either been successful or unsuccessful.  We looked for similarities and differences between the two, and tried to apply what we learned into creating a new proposal that hopefully might get funded.

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Tools of the Trade

Hello there,

In this blog post I am going to show you some of the different tools I use to perform the different procedures in my lab.

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Collecting Fruit Flys

Hello again,

Recently I have spent a lot of time on the confocal microscope taking pictures of embryonic gonads to determine the temporal and spatial expression pattern of the Tj-Gal4 driver and Upd-Gal4 driver.  The main project that I am working on this summer deals with characterizing various Gal4-UAS gene expression drivers.  It is important to understand how these drivers work because they are an important tool for scientists to study their gene of interest in fruit flies.  The pictures are quite colorful, with an array of red, green, and blue colors illuminating various cells.  The colors aren’t naturally there though, they only show up after a procedure known as immunostaining which allows us to visualize specific proteins in the embryo.  If you wanted to see some of the pictures there are some that I took on a poster hanging up right outside our lab.  It can be quite time consuming taking these pictures because in order to develop a 3D image of a gonad using the confocal microscope the camera has to take a series of photos consisting of all the different planes of the gonad.  This often takes anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes per gonad.  Besides taking pictures of the Tj-Gal4 driver, there are 8 other drivers that have to be characterized for this project.

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Working with High Schoolers

Hello there,

During the first week of June a high school AP Biology class from Bruton High School came into the lab to finish an experiment that I developed.  One of my projects last year was to create a high school lab protocol using fruit flies that would hopefully get high school students more excited about biology than previous high school labs.  Much of high school lab protocols using fruit flies simply teach students about the passage of visible traits like eye color and wing shape from one generation to the next through use of Punnett squares. However, the kind of things we do in our lab are much more interesting and complex than simply tracking physical traits using Mendelian principles.

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