Posts Tagged 'Lupus'

Introducting Gwen, Lupus Ambassador

My name is Gwen Alexander and I’ve been diagnosed with lupus since 2006. I’m pretty confident I’ve been living with it most of my life but just not knowing. I’m a divorced mother of a 16-year-old dancer, wannabe actress/model/chef/beautician. I’ve been dating the same man for about 10 years and for now I’m working full time and I am currently the Ambassador for the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota (LFM). I’ve spent most of this year raising awareness and monies for ...

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Gwenevere Alexander
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Gaffney is Rewriting the “User’s Manual”

With the completion of the Human Genome Project. Scientists promised the world a sort of “user’s manual” for the human body and commentators predicted the end of disease.
 
While those results have not yet arrived, it’s researchers like the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s Patrick Gaffney, M.D., who are trying to get the world there.
 
If DNA is the “Big Book of You,” with billions of pages ...

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Dr. Patrick Gaffney
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A summer of opportunities

This summer was amazing! I can’t even begin to describe how beneficial this summer fellowship was to my future career as a scientist. I learned so many new protocols that I can add to my list, as well as just how a lab works in general. I always thought labs had an impersonal and competitive environment, but this summer I got to see just how collaborative everyone was within and between labs.

I also got to do some amazing things that ...

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Brianna Lauer
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The buzz of science

Successful science is not done only from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nor does it restrict itself to the working week. Working at the Center for Immunology has thrown me into the pace of science: a well-oiled machine that takes over your existence no matter which day of the week or what time of day.

The greatest excitement while doing my experiments has come as the sun is setting, as the lab quietens down from the hustle and bustle of the daytime. Still, ...

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Pietro Miozzo
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What my project is all about

This week I thought I’d talk more about what my specific project is and what I hope to gain from it. It was nice because when I first heard about this project, I was able to understand all the concepts being discussed because of classes I’ve taken here at the University of Minnesota! My project deals with alternative splicing factors in a signaling molecule known as Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF). Usually VEGF has been associated with pro-angiogenic properties, which ...

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Brianna Lauer
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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 ...

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Brianna Lauer
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“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 ...

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Pietro Miozzo
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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 ...

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Brianna Lauer
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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 ...

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Brianna Lauer
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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? ...

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Pietro Miozzo
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