Dendritic cells and the pathogenesis of periodontal disease




Senior Research Investigator

Project Summary

The purpose of my 10 week project through PURM was to to further identify the mechanisms that control the pathogenesis of periodontal disease. Previous research in the Graves Lab along with companion studies in the field narrowed my project in analyzing the relationship between a transcription factor FOXO1, which regulates cell functions (more specifically, dendritic cells), and Akt, a protein kinase that negatively regulates FOXO1. I conducted phagocytosis assays with bone marrow dendritic cells (BMDCs) and P. gingivalis bacteria, as well as chemotaxis experiments and microCT imaging analysis. Along the way, I learned how to use a fluorescent microscope and run my own experiments while observing other crucial parts of the lab, such as genotyping, sectioning, and animal care. Further, I improved skills such as cooperation, time management, and public speaking. Through my research experience, not only did I learn the fundamentals behind conducting my experiments, but I also learned how to efficiently plan and work in a lab environment. Further, I learned the amount of work that is put into doing research, whether it is reading countless literatures or staying late to finish an experiment. Conducting this research gave me the realization of how relevant and applicable school year courses can be with ongoing research. I definitely will try to retain more information from my biology and chemistry classes: you never know when information from those classes will turn up! 10 weeks may seem like a sufficient time for a research project, but I reassure that is absolutely false. The unexpected always occurs, and experiments almost never go as perfectly planned. The biggest takeaway from my research was understanding and respecting the work researchers conduct on a day to day basis. I am very grateful to have had the chance to assist in such relevant and novel research.



Dendritic cells and the pathogenesis of periodontal disease