Posted by: muugrscholars | July 6, 2007

“Of mice and…research interns”

Hello, fellow undergraduate researchers! This is a group post by Larry, Dave, and Justin, research interns that are currently working in Dr. Sam Waters’ lab in the Life Sciences Center. Our research centers around two genes in mice, named Gbx1 and Gbx2, that are essential to development of structures in the brain, specifically the rhombomeres in the hindbrain. We use a combination ofImages DNA analysis, RNA in situ hybridization, and protein immunohistochemistry to collect data that can help us characterize the role Gbx1 and Gbx2 play in development.

Dr. Waters has previously created a line of mice that lack the functional genes for Gbx1 and Gbx2. The mice lacking Gbx2 die immediately after birth from loss of motor control (they cannot get milk from a nursing female), however the mice lacking Gbx1 do develop to maturity but have an awkward gait or ineffective control of their hindlegs. Thus, we see that these genes are essential to normative development in mice.

As undergraduates in Dr. Waters’ lab, our research experience has been very exciting and rewarding thus far. As usual for most scientific research, we have experienced the occasional setback. However, we have tried to learn from our mistakes and often the end result is a greater understanding of the project and the science behind it.

As undergrads both myself (Larry) and Dave have been working with Dr. Waters since November 2006. Working here during the summer is great because there is a lot more time to dedicate to the work. We also get to spend more time with the graduate students in our lab. They have tons of experience and are willing to help with any issues we may have. We look forward to the rest of the summer and furthering our knowledge of Gbx1 and Gbx2 as well as providing valuable data to overall study of these important genes.

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