Nuffield Project

A research project to study the differentiation of neuron cells in chick brains.
Over the summer 2013, I have been awarded a 4 week Nuffield Scholarship to work alongside researchers at the Institute of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (IBBS) at the University of Portsmouth on this project. The aim of the project is to work towards confirming the role of the gene Cellular Retinoic Acid Binding Protein 1(CRABP1) in neuron differentiation, in other words, the specialisation of a general purpose cell, or a stem cell, into one which acts as a neuron in the brain. This process of differentiation occurs whilst a chick embryo is developing, and is the beginning of the formation of the brain.

Not only is this an important strand of research, it is an exciting one where techniques including: cloning, working with plasmids (small pieces of circular DNA in bacteria) and DNA hybridisation (combining different strands of DNA) are commonly used.

Using these techniques, we hope to find further evidence that CRABP1 is in fact contributing to the process of differentiation of these neuron cells. If this is the case, a paper will be published to work towards establishing more details of its role. I will write up the project as it progresses and then report the findings in October in London.

Over the four weeks I will post updates on the progress of the work. I hope to describe the technical processes used and to convey the excitement of each stage as we progress through the research. A proportion of the work we will do will be microscopic but it is also very visual, so I will be posting images too. Here is my first one:

Where I will carry out my research work.

Where I will carry out my research work.

Week 1 Diary

Week 2 Diary

Week 3 Diary

Week 4 Diary

Project Report

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