“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 →
Lupus patients invited to Biovid Corp. survey
Biovid Corp. would like to invite patients to participate in a 20-minute online survey discussing experiences and attitudes toward the management of your lupus condition. The survey is strictly for market research purposes; there will be absolutely no sales or promotional activities in conjunction with this survey. Your responses are completely confidential. Qualified participants will receive a check at the end of the study for $50. If you are interested in participating in this survey, please email Dusten Brennan at Biovid ...Continue Reading →
Increased severity of lupus and African-American women focus of Lupus Foundation of Minnesota-funded research at University of Minnesota
Researchers who seek new biomarkers for human diseases may have many goals. In the field of lupus research, we would like to find biomarkers that could make the disease easier to diagnose, improve the management of disease activity, predict when a flare is likely to occur, and help physicians decide which medications to use (or avoid) in a particular patient.Continue Reading →
Thanks to advances in genomic and proteomic technologies over the past 10 years, lupus researchers have been successful in ...
A new drug is approved, new questions arise. So how do we find the answers?
Fortunately, many researchers have ideas about where to look for answers, because we know that Benlysta works by reining in a type of immune cells called B cells. B cells play an important role in the normal immune response, but when inappropriately activated in a lupus patient, they produce harmful elements that cause the damaging effects seen in SLE. Researchers think that measuring these may provide clues to help us determine whether an individual patient is likely to respond to ...Continue Reading →