Characterizing the Experession of Pyk2 Protein in Mice Models of Alzheimer's Disease

dc.contributor.authorMalhorta, Simran
dc.description.abstractThis summer I worked at the Strittmatter lab at the Yale School of Medicine exploring a biochemical pathway involved in Alzheimer’s disease. I worked closely with my mentor to characterize the expression of the Pyk2 protein in a downstream cascade resulting in the phosphorylation of Tau protein. The phosphorylated Tau threads form tangles, which cause disruptions in the neuron’s internal transport system resulting in neuronal decline and death. Tau tangles are speculated to be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease. The Pyk2 protein has been previously associated with learning and cancer research however, little is known about its role in the regulation of Tau. The data for the study was primarily collected through behavioral tests conducted on mice and analysis of their brain tissue post-testing. My work focused on testing and developing immunostaining protocols for the study. I was also responsible for slicing harvested mice brains and imaging cells after staining them for specific proteins. Since I had little experience in the field of biochemistry I developed a variety of technical skills while working at the lab. One of the most important skills that I honed at my time there was combining critical thinking and creativity to overcome challenges. The lab environment was conducive for both collaboration and discussion with other graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. Their encouragement led me to improvise a specific method of slicing the brain, which not only saved time but also brain tissue. I was also able to gain insight on graduate school, pursuing research, and the daily challenges faced by researchers. Additionally weekly presentations with the principal investigator taught me how to better present my findings in an unbiased and confident manner. Overall the Strittmatter lab gave me an unforgettable and invaluable insight into the workings of a lab and ongoing research.
dc.description.panabstractMembers of our panel explored various fields of Biochemical research outside the realm of Mount Holyoke College over the course of the summer. As undergraduate students of different backgrounds, we collaborated with PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows on projects ranging from legume symbiosis and yeast epigenetics to Alzheimer’s disease and aging in hematopoietic stem cells. Our members were associated with graduate school labs at the University of Massachusetts, Yale School of Medicine and the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), as well as labs such as The Jackson Laboratory in Maine. Though the environments and the sizes of the labs varied, we all learned many essential lessons on conducting ethical research and succeeding as scientists. Some of these included habits such as maintaining a detailed lab notebook with appropriate procedures and modifications, reading a plethora of papers linked to our fields, and asking our mentors questions whenever necessary. Since the nature of our research projects was unique, we cultivated different lab techniques and skills that we will share through individual presentations. We will also share the processes involved in securing the internships, using the Lynk funding, and adjusting to new lab environments.
dc.titleCharacterizing the Experession of Pyk2 Protein in Mice Models of Alzheimer's Disease
dc.title.alternativeCrash Course: Student to Biochemical Research Scientist


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