CauseScience Friday Oct 10th. #Science #Selfie

psgurel: Today I am looking at actin filaments using Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy.  You may have heard about total internal reflection when learning about optic fibers… basically, if you shine light at a particular angle, instead of going through a sample, it’ll bend back, or get “internally reflected.”  The TIRF microscope relies on this principle and as a result, images acquired with TIRF have really good signal to noise ratio, meaning there is good contrast and low background.  Our department recently got a grant accepted to buy this scope, and so today is my first day using this system.  Before then, I had to travel to places like Chicago, Montreal, and Woods Hole to use a proper ‘scope.  Anyway, check out our new rig, and check out what actin looks like after it’s been polymerized for an hour (looks like hair!).

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crestwind24: Today I am doing some computer work, specifically I am looking through data from the modENCODE project! The modENCODE project, which stands for Model Organism ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements, is designed ‘to identify all of the sequence-based functional elements in the Caenorhabditis elegans and Drosophila melanogaster genomes.’ The project is working to identify all of the DNA locations where regulatory proteins or transcription factors bind DNA. Using the data from the project, I can analyze where in the C. elegans genome the protein I study is working. It is an awesome tool to complement the work I do in lab! For more info, check out the wikipedia page on the related ENCODE project, which is mapping the functional DNA elements in the human genome!

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Check out previous CauseScience Fridays!

#Science Quotable: Mark Gerstein on genetic model organisms!

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“One way to describe and understand the human genome is through comparative genomics and studying model organisms. The special thing about the worm and fly is that they are very distant from humans evolutionarily, so finding something conserved across all three – human, fly and worm – tells us it is a very ancient, fundamental process.” – Mark Gerstein on genetic model organisms, and the modENCODE and ENCODE projects.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-scientists-human-worm-genomes-biology.html#jCp