This past summer I had the privilege to work under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Lampson and his post-doc candidate Arunika Das in his microbiology lab in a project about centromeric protein-A (CENP-A). The project was about examining and testing the extraordinary stability of this protein in the germline of mice. As of now, the project has involved creating a mutation in the CENP-A genome that alters this stability using CRISPR/ Cas-9 gene editing, mutating mice embryos, testing the efficiency of the mutation using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and transferring the mutated embryos into female mice where they will develop and mature. We are now waiting for the mice embryos to mature to test the level of CENP-A in them.
This was my first experience in a wet lab, so I ended up learning about so many lab equipment and techniques. In fact, most of my time was spent training and getting used to the techniques used in the lab. I learned how to genotype a piece of tissue, handle mice, use a microscope, create solutions, dissect mice, collect and mature mouse oocytes, stain oocytes with antibodies for immunofluorescence, and quantify data. Most importantly, I learned how demanding life in a research lab is in terms of time and effort. Before my PURM mentorship, I was completely clueless about research and graduate school life, but now I know what to expect if I go to graduate school and pursue a career in research. This is particularly relevant to me as my major is biochemistry.