Update from week 7/8/19

I performed the third trial for the no treatment/ chloroquine experiment. I repeat the same procedures from the previous trials. I perform cell culture, transfection, drug addition, cell fixation, and fluorescence microscopy. I have yet to perform data collection on the trial 3 microscope slides, so I will do this week 7/15/19.

Update for week 7/1/19

The week of 7/1/19, I performed data collection or cell scoring on my Trial 1 of the no treatment/chloroquine experiment. I had to count 100 cells in multiple areas on the slides to see how many of the 100 cells had stress granules and did not have stress granules. I also cultured my cells to make sure that they would still be viable when I entered the lab the following week.

Results from Trial 1/ Starting Trial 2

At the beginning of this week, I looked at my Trial 1 slides for no treatment/ chloroquine that I made the week before. I examined the twelve chloroquine slides and took pictures of those slides. I need to perform statistics on the slides but I will do that throughout this week. In general, the majority of the cells on the chloroquine slides were not viable and the cells that were alive were scarce. One explanation for this could have been forceful washing during the cell fixation process. This week when I do cell fixation, I will make sure to be careful when washing the cells using the autopipette. I have also done cell culture for Trial 2 of no treatment/chloroquine. I will add my DNA conditions to my cells today and add the autophagy inhibitor drug, chloroquine, to the cells tomorrow.

Starting my independent project

This week, I have started my first trial of my independent project. As a reminder, I am trying to determine if pseudophosphatase, MK-STYX is reducing stress granule formation via the autophagy (cell recycling pathway). To tackle this question, I have to culture mammalian cells, transfect the cells with the different DNA plasmid conditions,  induce and inhibit the autophagy pathway via pharmaceutical drugs, fix the cells, and examine the cells under the fluorescence microscope.  This week I am starting my first trial of my experiment looking at the results of added no drug and the autophagy inhibitor drug. Thus far, I have cultured and transfected mammalian cells with my different DNA plasmid conditions. Later in the week, I will add autophagy inhibitor drug, fix the cells, and examine the cells using fluorescence microscopy. I am excited to see preliminary results of this experiment.

Nesting Ecology of Diamond Back Terrapins at the Cattlett Islands

The object of the study is to test a GIS-based model of terrapin occurrence in the Chesapeake Bay (Funkhouser et al. 2019). This model predicts the Catlett Islands in the York River as a suitable nesting habitat for Diamondback Terrapins. Terrapins are known to occur in the waters around Catlett Islands but to date, no one has studied their nesting on this island complex. The Catlett Islands are largely protected from human intervention and development, so this project is a good location to not only test one prediction of the GIS model, but also to give a more holistic view of the nesting ecology of terrapins on the island complex. Throughout their range in Virginia the status of terrapin populations is uncertain, and currently few studies describe the nesting ecology of terrapins in Chesapeake Bay. My study will address the following research questions: What is the location, number and success of terrapin nests on the Catlett Island complex?
Each day during the nesting period is to paddle out in a canoe from a point in Cedar Bush Creek (adjacent to Catlett Islands) and land the canoe on the beach. We will mark the location of intact nests or record the area. Once nesting is completed by active females, we will measure and mark the nesting female prior to release on-site.