Summer Research Summary

In all, this summer was a very valuable research experience. Besides continuing my work here at W&M, I was able to visit a different lab in Toronto and see what a high-throughput, professional lab environment is like. Though I had some problems with cell culturing and with our new plasmids, that’s just the reality of research– nothing goes perfectly, and it takes time. I learned a lot about mass spectrometry and proteomics in Toronto since that’s what they specialize in, but it also made me think more critically about my own research. Doing research requires a different mindset and way of questioning– you can’t just follow protocols blindly, but have to really think about why you’re using a specific technique or why you’re using a specific type of medium. You have to be curious and inquisitive and keep asking questions.

Though doing research this summer hasn’t come without frustration, I’m leaving with hope for what can be accomplished this upcoming school year with what I’ve learned this summer. We now have active mutant versions of both truncated versions of MK-STYX rather than just the entire protein, which will be fascinating to see what happens when those proteins are overexpressed. I’m also hoping to look further into the RhoA pathway in terms of the MK-STYX truncations. Previous research in Dr. Hinton’s lab found thatĀ MK-STYX decreased RhoA activation and affected downstream effectors, so it will be interesting to see how the different domains of MK-STYX play into pathway. In addition, once we have the stably transfected N2A lines, we’ll be able to start experiments to begin identifying interactors of MK-STYX in neuronal lines. This could feasibly be quite different than those we saw previously in HEK293s, a cell line used as a more general cell model. We will also be continuing a project with STYX, another promising pseudophosphatase that has been identified to interact with F-box proteins and other ubiquitin complex proteins.