Fight the Good Fight To Beat Disease

My name is Michelle Bond, I am a post-doctoral
fellow at the National Institute of Health. I am in the National Institute of Diabetes
and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. At the Hanover lab, we’re interested in looking
at small post-transformational modification. It’s called O-GlcNAc, so it’s a very tiny
sugar that modifies serine and threonine on proteins. It is implicated in a lot of different
diseases, ranging from Alzheimer’s to diabetes. In high school, I had a chemistry teacher
who gave us what you would call an unknown, and we had to identify what it was. I thought
that that was a really intriguing problem: to try and identify something that no one
else had identified yet. We’re using worms to study mutations that
are evolutionary conserved from C. elegans to humans, to translate what we’re seeing
in the worm, which is a whole organism, to what those mutations might be implicated in
in humans. On a day to day basis, I do a variety of things,
ranging from immunoblots. We’re interested in whether or not we see the same level of
protein in a particular sample. I am adding a membrane, to which we transfer proteins
to different boxes. These boxes, we will add an antibody to, to detect our protein or modification
of interest. I do staining of samples, and we microscopy,
so confocal microscopy. We’re interested in looking at a whole organism. C. elegans, like
I mentioned before. Seeing where our particular protein of interest, or modification, O-GlcNAc,
is localized. This here is one of the C. elegan’s gonads.
The blue stain is a stain called DAFFIE. Then the red is staining of O-GlcNAC, which is
the post-translational modification that we’re interested in. All of these here are cells
that are going to turn into embryos once they’re fertilized.
The work that we do in John’s lab is a lot of work that is very basic research. We want
to understand a very fundamental problem that can later be applied to understanding a much
bigger problem. Then I do genetic crossings. We literally
pick worms under plates. Males and hermaphrodites. We set up classes in order to combine different
mutations that might be of interest to us. The Hanover lab, as a whole, is made up of
post-docs that work very well together. I think it’s important to either collaborate
closely on projects, or at the very least, talk with one another, to improve your experimental
strategy, or how you’re writing a paper. Speaker 2: We’re interested in using some
of your lysates to see if we could capture any more.
Michelle: That’s a really good idea. Do you think that we could use the C. elegans’s LGTNA
lysates? Speaker 2: I don’t see why not. How is it
that you usually prepare them? Michelle: The main reason why I love this
job is because I get to discover something new that no one else has discovered before.
I get to do that on a daily basis. I get to make incremental steps toward a bigger goal:
understanding something that is maybe a small part of a big picture, but once you put small
parts together, you get a much broader understanding of a whole topic, and that’s really exciting.
Science requires tenacity. You have to have to work hard, and sometimes things don’t work,
and that’s okay.

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