This summer, I set out to examine the role of Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) signaling in stem cell establishment and maintenance in the developing testis of the common fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. This project was, in essence, a continuation of the project I started under the Freshman Monroe Summer Research Grant two years ago. Since that initial summer, I have made significant progress toward elucidating the role BMP signaling plays in germline stem cell maintenance. Under the Upperclassmen Monroe Summer Research Grant, I increased the sample sizes on data I had collected previously and examined several phenotypes that would clarify whether BMP signaling was sufficient for GSC maintenance. Furthermore, I began work on two new experiments that attempted to elucidate the interaction between the BMP signaling pathway and the well-characterized Jak-STAT pathway and the selection of germline stem cells.
In addition to studying the BMP signaling pathway, I also worked on an experimental methodology paper detailing the protocols we have developed in our laboratory to immunostain Drosophila embryos and larvae. As part of the process of putting together a complete and comprehensive paper, we optimized several steps within the protocol and performed statistical analyses to determine the its efficiency. In order to provide an example proving that the protocol was effective at staining a wide variety of internal tissues, we proceeded to stain both the gonadal tissues we regularly examine and successfully experimented with staining neuronal tissue. This paper is now complete and has been submitted to the Journal of Visualized Experimentation for review.