Now that we’ve shown you how much fun superlab can be, we’ll get down to business on the academics…
As Paul mentioned earlier, his group is looking RNA expression levels of chlamydomonas in response to heat shock. Some other topics that groups are looking at are: the effects of nutrient deprivation, bacterial defense mechanisms, and drug inhibition response. So each group is exploring something completely different! At the same time, our professors give us tons of support and guidance along the way in manipulating our protocols. We are also using journal articles to help us design our experiments provide us with some background knowledge on what results we might expect.
My group is interested in the process of circadian rhythms in chlamydomonas. Since such a variety of different experiments involving circadian rhythm have been done, we wanted to narrow down our search to a more specific question that interested us: What are some of the differences in RNA expression level of chlamydomonas in the dark period verus the light period? Since we know certain genes that are involved in photosynthesis are transcribed during the light cycle, we thought we could compare these expression levels with other genes that are involved in processes initiated in the dark cycle, such as cell division! (and no we’re not talking about chlamy math…. sorry I couldn’t hold back- all Paul’s influence!)
So far, we’ve harvested our cells at both a light stage and dark stage. We then used a solution called trisol, which causes the cell membranes to burst and spill out all of contents of our chlamy cells. Once we had our trisol solution containing our precious RNA along with some DNA and proteins, we wanted to extract just the RNA to see which genes are being transcribed during each stage. More exciting updates to come!