My summer in a nutshell

I have to say. This summer research experience was a wonderful and fruitful experience. This research experience I had last summer was just as fruitful yet drastically different from this summer’s research experience. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work in a computational linguistics lab, which gave me experience with computer programming and running participants. Moving from a linguistics lab to a biochemistry lab was exciting yet frightening at first. The first two weeks of training in the biochemistry lab was intense but I actually fell in love with the type of work we were doing. We learned basic procedures (DNA plasmid preparation, tissue culture, cell fixation, fluorescence microscopy, etc.) that we would be using on a regular basis for our independent projects and in the lab as a whole.

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After 10 weeks of research design and lab sessions, I am at a stopping point for the summer. At this point, I have run 26 participants, and I know that most of that data was collected without difficulty and will be a part of my final result, a concept which I find very exciting.

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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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