Plans After Summer Research

Hello All!

I had a great experience this summer conducting research in a molecular cell research lab. I learned so much from my PI and lab members and most importantly, I had the opportunity to pass on some of what I had learned to other students in the lab. By now I hope that all you have had to the chance to read my previous posts to gain an understanding of the specifics of my research, as I am working with Bisphenol a (BPA); however, if you haven’t read my previous posts the long story short of my work dealing with BPA is that it is an endocrine disrupter and it is found in the plastics that we use everyday. BPA is a chemical that, as the term endocrine disrupter suggests, causes damage to the normal functioning of our endocrine pathways once it has entered our bodies. BPA can enter our bodies by leeching from the plastics that we use and go into our foods and drinks. My research is beginning to suggest that at higher exposure levels BPA begins to cause cells to lose their viability. However, I am only speaking for Henrietta Larks cells as I am not yet certain as to what BPA might do at the organismal level.

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Research over the summer

This past summer was an exciting one, one that I will surely miss. I was fortunate enough to have been awarded the Charles Center Summer Research scholarship to have the opportunity to conduct research in a molecular cell research lab where I researched the endocrine disrupting properties of a chemical known as Bisphenol A (BPA). I am sure that by now, from reading my previous posts, you have an understanding of what BPA is; however, allow me to present a brief reminder in case you have forgotten. BPA is a chemical that has a similar structure to certain hormones in our bodies, and it is a part of what is used to make plastic products. Because of this, BPA can bind to certain hormone receptors in our bodies, and as it is a chemical that our bodies cannot dissolve, this presents a problem in which normal hormones cannot bind to their receptors.

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Research Done for the Summer of 2014

Hello All!

Once more, an insight into my research progress for the summer of 2014. For a brief reminder, I am working with Bisphenol A– a known endocrine disrupter that is a component of plastics such as plastic drinking water bottles. Why is this chemical so important to study? Because human exposure to BPA is thought to be ubiquitous: “Urinary, Circulating, and Tissue Biomonitoring Studies Indicate Widespread Exposure to Bisphenol A”- Vandenberg, et al. ; “Low concentrations of bisphenol a suppress thyroid hormone receptor transcription through a nongenomic mechanism”- Sheng, et al.

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Update into my research for the summer of 2014

Hello All!

Time for an update into my research for this summer. As a brief reminder, I am conducting research on Bisphenol A (BPA) to ultimately determine whether it has an effect within our bodies. BPA is known as an endocrine disrupter, and one of the reasons that it is receiving such world-wide attention is because it is a monomer of polycarbonate plastics. Meaning it is part of what is used to make plastics, such as plastic water bottles; because of this, it can easily leach from the plastics that we use to contain our food and drinks and enter into our food and drinks. Leaching of BPA into the plastics that we use can be caused by several factors, such as exposure to heat or radiation. As a result, human exposure to BPA is thought to be ubiquitous. To test BPA’s effects within our bodies, I am exposing cells to varying concentrations of BPA to determine which concentration of BPA begins to disrupt the cells ability to take in hormones. After experimentation with concentrations that are above what have been already used in the scientific literature, I have found that BPA does seem to disrupt cells ability to take in hormones. However, I am not yet sure as to whether it may be due to nonspecific cell integrity, or specifically BPA. I am currently conducting experiments with different concentrations of BPA to test this uncertainty in specificity.

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Research progress for summer 2014

My research has been steadily progressing this summer. For the first few weeks in lab I made sure that all the solutions that I will need were prepared and ready to use. I also made sure that all the materials I will need to begin my experimentation on cells were readily available. So far, my experiments are straightforward in the sense that I am following a very organized repeatable procedure. For example, for step one I grow the cells I am using to a high density; for step two I then transfer the cells to a set of plates where I can isolate and experiment on them; for step three, after experimentation, I then look at them through a  microscope to see the results of my experimentation.

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