Researching Aging in Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells at The Jackson Laboratory



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At The Jackson Laboratory this summer, I studied aging in hematopoietic progenitor cells collected from mice. I was participating in the Summer Student Program, where I was placed in a lab with a research mentor, in addition to being provided a stipend and a place to live. My research focused on determining the relative expression levels of cell cycle genes in lymphoid primed multipotent progenitors (LMPPs). LMPP populations have been shown to decrease with age, leading to reduced numbers of B cells and T cells resulting in immune deficiencies. LMPPs are also shown to cycle more rapidly with increased age, therefore we hypothesize that cell cycle genes may be dysregulated with age. Relative expression of target genes was measured with reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). One of my most valuable summer findings unexpectedly came from an observation of skewed results with this procedure, which allowed me to identify an important change that needed to be made regarding our reference gene. Conducting research at The Jackson Laboratory provided an opportunity to explore a research topic different than my work at UMass Amherst in the Garman lab the last two years. My third summer diving into a new area of research was so much easier than the first because I was familiar with lab work and knew how to find information necessary to understand my project. I felt confident in the lab and ready to tackle new protocols. Immersing myself in laboratory research has allowed me to become a highly capable research scientist which will serve me well as I begin graduate school in the fall.