Characterizing the Drosophila Germline Stem Cell Niche: Future Directions

It’s been about 3 weeks since leaving campus and pausing my research project for now. Reflecting back on my summer of research, I am happy with the progress that’s been made. I helped develop a new process for imaging gonads in vivo using phytagel, found a type of FBS that supports gonad differentiation ex vivo, and optimized the tracking procedure for specific cell types within the gonad using Fiji Track-mate software. There were also come set-backs this summer. It was discovered that the flies used for imaging were contaminated. It was very important that we realized this though so that we can expand a clean line of flies for use in future experiments.

With that being said, there is a lot of work to be done when I get back on campus. For imaging gonads ex vivo, I want to start by repeating imaging with lot B FBS to confirm that the conditions I established over the summer for differentiation do indeed work. Then I plan on performing a titration experiment with lot B FBS to identify the optimal concentration of FBS to use in culture media. Once I find the optimal conditions for differentiation, I want to work to increase the number of times I scan the gonads under the laser confocal microscope per hour. This hopefully will produce images that can be analyzed more easily with tracking software.

For imaging in vivo, I plan on starting the semester by increasing the lens magnification I image with. This will hopefully make it feasible to use tracking software on in vivo images. As with ex vivo imaging, I also hope to eventually be able to scan the gel more often per hour to make tracking easier. I foresee that drying out of the phytagel might prove to be an obstacle to fulfilling this goal; humidity might need to be increased further. I’m excited to get back to campus so I can build on the progress made this summer!