A better understanding of tendon and ligament development is needed to perform more effective surgery and repair on humans. The current markers for connective tissue development have been largely identified but the time at which they appear during growth is not defined. This project seeks to define the time at which scx, col2.3, col2.6, and col6 appear, as examined through mice at 4, 14, 21, and 28 days after birth.
Ankle, knee, and shoulder samples were harvested, fixed in formalin, and sectioned with cryofilm in a cryostat. They were counterstained with DAPI and Toludine blue and were imaged on the Zeiss Axio Scan Z1. Data so far has indicated that different tendons and ligaments express differently at the same timepoint, and that each tendon and ligament express differently at different timepoints. Future work still needs to be done to increase sample size and examine more timepoints.
This project was an excellent exposure into how research laboratories operate. While classes adequately cover the subject of biology as a whole, they are not able to capture how cutting-edge science is performed or how labs are run from a professional perspective. From interacting with a PI, PhD students, and other undergraduates, I was able to gain exposure into science as a possible career which is invaluable from a student’s perspective. Additionally, it was eye-opening to see the setbacks involved in research—the work does not always run smoothly, and the process is much more methodical than meets the eye.