This summer, my mentor and I will be examining the role of intracellular structures-specifically, the biomarkers of these structures–in neurological movement disorders.
One of the main techniques that we will be using for this is western blotting. Western blotting is an analytical technique used to detect specific proteins. First, the proteins are denatured by the addition of sodium dodecyl sulfate, and then the samples undergo gel electrophoresis. Then, the excess primary antibodies are washed off, and finally, secondary antibodies are added to react with the primary antibodies. The secondary antibodies allow for protein visualization. Another technique we will be using is centrifugation. As the name implies, centrifugation is the process of spinning a mixture so its contents will be separated.
For this project, there is a large focus on isolating biomarkers. In cell biology, biomarkers can be used to understand susceptibility of disease or to even characterize the progression of a disease. For the purposes of our study, my mentor and I will be analyzing proteomic biomarkers, which can detect a variety of biological changes in the body.
I truly enjoy being a part of this project, because of the clinical applications that the results of this project may have, and its potential to begin a conversation in this particular field about new diagnostic measures and pharmaceutical treatments.