A Computational Model of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (Summary)

Over these past seven weeks of research, I’ve made so much progress on my models. More importantly,  I’ve learned a lot. I was able to study the JC virus infection cycle, how a variety of transcription factors affect viral replication and transcription, the body’s immune response, and potential PML treatments.

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Summarizing the Summer

I cannot believe that this summer is almost over. I am glad to say that my research went quite well. I was able to determine if CAV-1 and the TR mutant (S40T, K136R, L251P, V390A) are colocalized, and I was able to show the impact that one of those four TR mutations has on localization of the TR mutant. The next step could be observing the impact of another one of the four TR mutations to determine which mutation leads to the greatest mislocalization of this TR mutant; it will allow me to better understand the types of interactions that these mutations have in shaping the localization of the TR mutant. I am also interested in doing a time-lapse experiment using the confocal microscope to see when CAV-1 and TR mutant may be the most or the least colocalized. If there is a specific point of time at which they colocalize the most or the least, I would want to know the implications of those results. Although I have learned a lot about this TR mutant within the past two years, I know that there is so much more that can be understood about these TR mutations and that these TR mutations can help us better understand the functions of TR and its possible impact on the development of liver cancer. And, for that understanding, I will continue to conduct experiments on this topic as long as I am at W&M.

Summary of Summer Research

This summer I spent seven weeks conducting background research, combing through psychology measures, and building two psychology studies to prepare for data collection and analysis this coming school year for my honors thesis. All of this work will allow me to confidently implement my studies at the start of the fall semester rather than having to rush to build my studies and collect data by the end of the semester. I feel that my studies are much more well-developed than they would have been had I not had the opportunity to begin working on it this summer.

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An Inconclusive Summary

As I mentioned in my last post, I am far from finished with my research, the end goal being an article sent in to be published by the end of December. However, I accomplished much over the summer. I mapped 31 sites (10x10m sections of coral reef) for two species of coral and one type of disease. I found that the disease was more prevalent on one of the coral species. But I have not finished the spatial analyses because in the last few weeks, we changed the statistics we were using and I had to learn new methods of comparing the spatial data. I am still in the process of completing these analysis. I have managed to get my old disease transmission model code to work, but am now developing a new model involving use of a continuous function. My research is a work in progress, but my time spent at Mote brought me closer to my adviser, broadened my view of ocean acidification and coral disease research, and gave me valuable time to work on my project. I look forward to completing my research during this semester, even though right now it seems like having to take classes and graduate is taking away too much time from my research which is really all that I want to do.

Summing Up

Back from Tanzania and back on campus, I’ve had the chance to analyze my findings from the summer and reflect on my project as a whole. Overall in the span of about 5 week, I conducted 12 interviews with members of 11 organizations. All of my respondents were all professionals dealing with the implementation of Tanzania’s National Nutrition Strategy (NNS). Their organizations ranged from Tanzanian governmental agencies to UN bodies to private businesses. Their insights taught me about how nutritional policy is implemented, but more broadly about how international development is done.

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