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Bryn Mawr Biology Student Summer Research Experiences

Student News Summer 2014

Bryn Mawr Biology majors are having an exciting summer, working at variety of jobs on campus, off campus, and out of the country!  Here is a sampling of how some of our students are spending their summers...

Caitlin Bauer (BMC ’16)… is working with Bryn Mawr’s Dr. Tom Mozdzer as a part of the TIDE project, and is studying the effects of nitrate fertilization on salt marches in the Plum Island Ecosystem of Massachusetts.  The TIDE project (Trophic Cascades and Interacting Control Processes in a Detritus Based Ecosystem) is a long-term experiment, which studies the effects of fertilization by having researchers add fertilizer to a tank which drips it into the creeks in a controlled manner.  Each fertilized creek is paired with a control creek; one fertilized creek began receiving fertilizer 6 years ago and the other began receiving it 11 years ago. This is Caitlin’s second summer on the project and she primarily focuses on plant traits, but she is also helping out on other projects involving fish, snails and other aspects of the marsh. Specifically, Caitlin has been working with another Bryn Mawr student (Elena Johnson) to take clip plots of multiple plant species (Tall Spartina alterniflora, short form Spartina alterniflora, Distichlis spicata, and Spartina patens) to help identify some of the differences in above ground morphology. Elena is using these data to calibrate a canopy sensor to hopefully lessen the number of clip plots they will need to take in later years.  They are also identifying differences in vegetation between the different marshes, such as which species are present and dominant on the marshes.  Later this summer, Caitlin will head down to the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center to start doing some genetics work on tall form Spartina alterniflora samples from the TIDE marshes starting from the early years of fertilization for both the unfertilized control creeks and the fertilized creeks, as well as some samples that she and Elena collected from a marsh in Sippewissett that is a part of a separate long term fertilization experiment.

Miriam Doepner (BMC ’16)… is spending her summer working in Dr. Wei Tong's hematology lab at CHOP through the Clinical & Translational Science Awards (CTSA) internship program at UPenn. The lab focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms involved in cytokine receptor signaling in hematopoiesis, HSCs, and leukemogenesis. Miriam has specifically been looking at the effect of the HECTD1 E3 ligase on JAK2 and ubiquitin. Additionally, she has been helping a research technician study the BRISC complex and how it is involved with JAK2 and ubiquitin. Miriam tells us that she loves this experience and hopes to continue doing research at Bryn Mawr College.

Carolyne Face (BMC ’15)… is working in Dr. Tamara Davis's lab at Bryn Mawr this summer, investigating how histone modification may be involved in regulating the tissue-specific imprinting of Rasgrf1. She is using ChIP to isolate modified chromatin from tissues displaying monoallelic expression and conducting allele specific qPCR to determine the relative levels of maternal and paternal DNA containing permissive and repressive modifications. Using this data, the Davis lab will be able to determine whether modifications at various regions of Rasgrf1 are correlated with expression levels in a tissue and allele specific manner, which may provide insight into the role of histone modification in the tissue-specific imprinting of Rasgrf1.

Caroline Fleet (HC ’16)… is spending her summer working with Professor William Williams and the photography archives in Haverford's Special Collections. In addition to cataloguing recent additions to the collection Caroline is assisting Professor Williams in updating older records, organizing gallery exhibits, and compiling bibliographic information on the artists represented in the collection.

Nicole Hamagami (BMC ’16)… is doing research at Bryn Mawr, where she is working on the imprinted mouse gene Rasgrf1, which is paternally expressed in a tissue-specific manner. Specifically, Nicole is examining the differences in modified histone distribution at the Rasgrf1 gene locus between mono-allelic and bi-allelic tissues to determine the involvement of these modified histones in tissue-specific gene expression. Nicole is using a procedure known as chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) coupled with allele-specific amplification of DNA using quantitative PCR to locate modified histones that are preferentially distributed on either or both parental alleles of the gene. Ultimately, NIcole hopes to determine whether histone modifications directly correlate with DNA methylation in regulating differential gene expression.

Shayoni Nag (BMC ’16)… is working at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland in the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Department. Stationed in the VCA lab (vascularized composite allotransplantation) lab, Shayoni is working on a project that focuses on elucidating the mechanism of lymphatic regeneration in the setting of tolerance, rejection, and immunomodulation of skin allografts. This project aims to demonstrate the immunomodulatory properties of lymphatic inhibition in a mouse model of skin transplantation. Currently Shayoni is in the process of determining if lymphatic re-connection in recipient and donor tissues is an important step in the regulation of immune response by coordinating antigen presenting cell (APC) trafficking. Shayoni tells us: “This project a great a new experience for me as it is the first time I am able to be hands on in animal operating rooms and perform animal surgeries on mice, including the skin grafts themselves.”

Prerana Vaddi (BMC ’16)… is spending her summer in Philadelphia working at Drexel, HUP, and CHOP. While at Drexel, Prerana is working with the Center for Family Intervention Science (CFIS) trying to understand how trauma and suicidality relate. In addition, Prerana is also investigating how attachment-based family therapy impacts emotion regulation and the internalization/externalization of emotional problems. This August, she’ll be presenting a poster on this work at the American Psychological Conference in Washington D.C.  At HUP, Prerana works at the FTD center, studying frontotemporal dementia, a rare neurodegenerative disease that affects nearly 10,000 people every year. In particular, Prerana is focusing on how single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and environmental factors affect the age of onset of FTD.  Additionally, she studies the predictive validity of heritability by conducting pedigree analyses of affected individuals. Finally, at CHOP, Prerana is studying how temporal lobe epilepsy contributes to functional changes in the dentate gyrus via imaging and staining techniques and transgenic mice models.

Amy Wiedenfeld (BMC ’16)… is conducting research at University College Cork in Ireland this summer. Amy is working on a project about intertidal sea grass (Zostera noltii). She tells us that she spent several days in the field helping collect samples of the sea grass, which grows on mudflats, and that she mostly works in the lab sorting through biomass samples and sediment samples. Once the biomass samples are sorted into aboveground and belowground biomass, wet and dry weights are calculated. The sediment samples have to be sieved to find out the silt fraction and the sand fraction to find out what type of sediment the sea grass grows in.

 

Students conducting research in the Bryn Mawr Biology Department include:

Kaeun Bae (BMC '15) - Chander lab

Caitlin Bauer (BMC '16) - Mozdzer lab

Lyntana Brougham (BMC '16) - Mozdzer lab

Amanda Cline (BMC '16) - Shapiro lab

Ishani Das (BMC '15) - Brodfuehrer lab

Carolyne Face (BMC '15) - T. Davis lab

Fiona Gambanga (BMC '15) - Chander lab

Emily Geoghegan (BMC '17) - Mozdzer lab

Rachel Hager (BMC '15) - Mozdzer lab

Nicole Hamagami (BMC '16) - T. Davis lab

Katrina Obieta (BMC '15) - Brodfuehrer lab

Rachel Shields (BMC '15) - T. Davis lab

Emily Spica (BMC '15) - G. Davis lab

Mahira Tiwana (BMC '16) - Brodfuehrer lab

Katia Vlasova (BMC '15) - T. Davis lab

 

Other Student News...