Collaboration leads to solutions
This week I really got to dig into my individual summer project! It’s a joint project with Dr. Jerry Molitor who is focused on scleroderma. Seeing collaboration between labs is so refreshing because instead of seeing a highly competitive and self-contained atmosphere, my experience has been full of data sharing and collaborative efforts in order to come up with solutions. He even said I could visit his clinic and shadow him, which is an amazing opportunity that I’m excited for.
The ...Continue Reading →
“I now feel like a real scientist …”
Over the past two weeks, I have performed pilot experiments to finalize the design of my final project. One of these pilots compared an infected wild type model with an uninfected one; wild type means that the model has not been genetically modified in any way.
A day after infection, I examined spleen for the presence of certain dendritic cell variants. Dendritic cells are one of many types of white blood cells, and some of their subsets are found in greater ...Continue Reading →
DNA extractions: a “hands on” approach to theoretical concepts
This week I spent most of the week doing DNA extractions as we get ready for a large genotyping project in lab. Learning how to do DNA extractions was really interesting, because it’s a theory that is widely taught in high school and college courses, but I had never been able to see the practice of it. Being able to have a “hands on” approach to theoretical concepts I’ve learned in my undergrad career is a great way to cement ...Continue Reading →
Lupus research: a balancing act
This week I learned how to balance doing multiple things in a laboratory! Sometimes you can have three different experiments running at once, and you have to make sure you know what all of them are doing. I’m doing a lot of different protocols, like RNA extraction, DNA extraction, cDNA synthesis, and Toll-Like Receptor stimulations.
This week I also got to meet with Dr. Jerry Molitor who is an Associate Professor of Medicine in Rheumatology, working at clinics here at the ...Continue Reading →
What my lupus research project is
Now that we’ve gone through the introductions, here’s a little bit about the project I’m working on (I promise it will be understandable!). I am examining the role of a lupus-associated gene, called PTPN22, in response to viral infection. Many people with lupus, and other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, have a mutation in this gene and produce a mutated protein. This protein’s mutation is in the form of a substituted amino acid at position 620.
What does that mean? ...Continue Reading →
Getting settled in and initial thoughts on this fellowship opportunity
I can’t believe the first month of my fellowship has flown by so quickly! I began working in Dr. Erik Peterson’s lab in the University of Minnesota’s Center for Immunology Research at the beginning of June. So far I have been immersed in both the theoretical and technical aspects of lupus research. The fellowship has been made even more exciting by the fact that I have never been to Minnesota before, let alone the Midwest; I have just finished my ...Continue Reading →
My First Week Here at the U of M Lupus Research Facilities
My name is Brianna Lauer and I first joined the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota through their Summer Fellowship Program, which is a program that gives undergraduate students the chance to work alongside faculty at the University of Minnesota and work on funded programs dealing with lupus. I became interested in lupus research through the amazing guidance of Dr. Emily Gillespie and her dedication to this research.
I wanted to talk about my experiences this summer working in the laboratory here at ...Continue Reading →
New Faces to Lupus Research: Student Summer Research Fellows
If you attended the Lupus Food and Wine Classic in June, you might remember the group of enthusiastic young adults who greeted you as you entered Nickelodeon Universe and escorted you to the registration table. Those students are this year’s Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM)Summer Research Fellows, and we are fortunate to be hosting them in our laboratories at the University of Minnesota while they participate in a lupus research project and learn what full-time research is really like. (Spoiler ...Continue Reading →