You will earn 6 research credits over 6 weeks, conducting a faculty-supervised, hands-on, directed study research projects with results that will culminate in the preparation of a research paper. You will complete a minimum of 240 hours on research in and out of the laboratory.
Faculty mentors will work closely with you to direct your continued growth and knowledge development in the chosen research topic discipline.
|LONS RSLW 392S||International Independent Research in STEM Fields||6|
The mdx mouse is a model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a lethal X-linked disease of muscle. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a master metabolic sensor in cells and an on-switch for the autophagy-mitophagy pathway. We hypothesize that increased AMPK activity will lead to a reduction in histopathology and other disease markers in the mdx mouse. We will cross a transgenic overexpressing AMPK with the mdx mouse and analyze the skeletal muscle.
Perineuronal nets are produced by the deposition of extracellular matrix components around specific neuronal populations, to facilitate their growth and maturation. Perineuronal nets have been well described around parvalbumin-interneurons in the hippocampus and cortex, and regulation of the perineuronal net can significantly alter the activity of these cells. In our model of preterm brain injury, we see a deficit in parvalbumin interneurons, and we will study the involvement of the perineuronal net in this pathology.
The project will use cell and molecular biology approaches to determine whether the extracellular phosphate concentration plays a role in driving the terminal differentiation of osteoblasts into osteocytes
A key question in cell and developmental biology is how the mammalian embryo is assembled. Developmental fates are controlled by the regulation of gene expression, and miRNAs play an important part in this. These small, double-stranded RNAs of approximately 22 nucleotides act by post-transcriptionally suppressing gene expression. They operate to fine-tune expression levels, and their importance is exemplified by their absence, which results in the lethality of the early embryo. We wish to understand the function of miRNAs in the early embryo by testing their regulation of specific genes involved in the initial developmental program.
Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are important mediators in the therapeutic effects of stem cells involving cell-to-cell communication but is not well characterized for horse mesenchymal stem cells. This in vitro project will investigate the migration of fluorescence-tagged EVs in horse tendon sections and potential uptake by tendon fibroblasts, the tenocytes.
Highly regulated cell signaling during normal development and regeneration ensures controlled matched blood vessel growth. Dysregulated receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) mediated cell signaling, however, drives abnormal angiogenesis blood vessel maturation. The key aim of this project is to determine which RTK components of angiogenic cell signaling undergo major changes during different cellular or environmental conditions. HMEC-1 cells in this project will be grown in the normal growth medium and in the presence of growth factors and/or RTK cell signaling inhibitors to determine how such components regulate endothelial cell growth.
We hypothesize that endothelial cells under hypoxia adapt through cell signaling changes that promote cell proliferation. The delivery of oxygen and nutrients by blood vessels is essential for the survival of all tissues. Damage or blockage of a blood vessel if not fatal leads to tissue ischemia that activates a stress response with the potential to trigger recovery by attempting to re-vascularise the ischemic tissue. The process of revascularization is triggered by angiogenesis, a process characterized by the growth of endothelial cells. There are, however, many in vivo inhibitors that prevent such an initial step of re-vascularisation by preventing endothelial cell growth. There are also some angiogenic growth factors that can promote angiogenesis. Most inhibitors as well as growth promoters, however, are heterogeneous and therefore do not always produce their desired effects. The key aim of this project is to investigate in vitro heterogeneity of endothelial cells and how different endothelial cell populations respond to transient or longer-term hypoxia.
The project will seek to determine whether extracellular vesicles that are released from hyperglycaemic endothelial cells cause inflammatory responses in endothelium in vitro.
The project will seek to determine whether extracellular vesicles isolated from milk collected from cows at different stages of lactation have similar, magnified or opposing effects on human monocyte activation in vitro.
Emerging evidence has shown that nutrition and metabolism have an integral role in controlling immune responses. Changes in immune responses in the presence of various stimuli, including bacteria and viruses, require a sharp increase in nutrient supply. In the dairy industry calves are fed a restricted milk diet to encourage concentrate intake. Our hypothesis is that changes in early life nutrition and energy supply affect the development of splenic and thymus functions in calves. In the present project, calves were fed a standard and enhanced diet pre- and post-weaning and the tissue samples were collected at 21 weeks of age. You will examine the above hypothesis via comparing the difference of expression of the selected genes involved in immunometabolism (interactions between metabolism and Inflammation) between the dietary groups.
Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a genetic disease in which affected patients are unable to produce dystrophin, a protein vital for normal muscle and brain function. One of the many problems faced by boys with MD is disrupted sleep. As yet it is unknown if dogs with MD also show altered sleep patterns.
Production of antibodies for research using animals is a multibillion-dollar industry but it is entirely possible to select antibodies without using any live animals which raise a question over current practices that are ethically acceptable. Cattle antibodies have a unique structure compared to other species that might make them particularly useful as affinity reagents. This project will characterize a new in vitro library of cattle antibodies produced at RVC as a potential source of antibody reagents for research studies.
Investigate the protein expression of equine endothelial cells in culture and in vessel and muscle tissue sections. Compare protein expression in cultured cells after treatment with pro-angiogenic factors.
Asphyxia (restricted blood flow/oxygen to the brain) during birth occurs in 2-3 term babies per 1000 in the UK, leading to the development of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy (HIE) and permanent, life-long neurological and motor disorders. Following asphyxia, mitochondria become damaged, cellular energy levels fall and neurons die. This project will investigate whether mitochondrial Prohibitin proteins can be targeted for neuroprotection after asphyxial injury.
The student will measure the effects of SFX-01, a sulforaphane-like compound, on bone cell behavior.
The two most significant causes of morbidity in kennelled dogs are canine infectious respiratory disease (CIRD) and gastroenteritis. In recent years several novel infectious agents including canine circovirus (CCirV) and canine bocavirus (CBoV)have been associated with the development of gastroenteritis and CIRD, but very little is known about their global presence. This will be the first survey of CCirV and CBoV in the UK dogs and will involve the analysis of samples collected from healthy and diseased dogs to assess the presence and prevalence of these two viruses in our UK dog population.
Umbilical cord torsion is the most common pathological diagnosis associated with equine abortion in the UK but little is known of the underlying etiology. This project aims to compare the collagen content in the umbilical cords of pregnancies associated with umbilical cord torsion with control pregnancies that produce healthy foals. Paraffin-embedded tissue previously banked will be sectioned and then stained with Massons Trichrome and collagen quantified and compared using ImageJ.
Early pregnancy loss occurs in 7-10% of pregnancies but in the majority of cases, the underlying cause is not known. We recently found that a subset of failed early male conceptuses but not control conceptuses had a microdeletion of the gene stromal antigen 1, a key gene involved in the cohesion complex. We propose that the genomic microdeletion would result in a corresponding deletion of the STAG2 transcript which would in turn impact early development. We have gDNA CNV quantified in a series of conceptuses. The student would measure STAG2 mRNA (and protein if time permits) in the corresponding conceptuses and determine whether there is an association between the genomic copy number and mRNA expression.
Formalin-fixed brain tissue will be sectioned and photographed to create an atlas of the gross anatomy of the canine brain. This will be combined with histological sections stained with hematoxylin & eosin and imaged using a slide scanner. The student will then combine these images with representative images from MRI of dog brains to create an interactive atlas for learning.
Many students find learning and understanding brain anatomy challenging. Using samples from our Companion Animal Brain bank, this project will aim to create an interactive, online atlas of brain anatomy, histology and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for use by undergraduate students, postgraduate students, clinical and research staff.
The following information is vetted and provided by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) on the Electronic Database for Global Education (EDGE).
|70 – 100%||First Class||A|
|60 – 69%||Second Class Upper||B+|
|50 – 59%||Second Class Lower||B|
|40 – 49%||Third Class/Pass||C|
|0 – 39%||Fail||F|