Project Specifics

RNA Knockdown- The premise of this project is to "knockdown" the suspected genes that code for the production of the flagellar motor protein using RNAi techniques. The expected results of a successful knockdown would show the absense of said gene in the phenotype of the cells. This project is currently led by Valerie, Madison, and Ethan.

Fluorescent Imaging-The goal of this project is to use fluorescent imaging with a bifocal microscope to assess the success of the of the transfection by imaging the cells. The cells that contain the GFP tag, which was introduced by transfection, will illuminate in what is understood to be the flagella. Parastoo is currently running this project.

Biophysical Analysis/Scale-Up-This project is focused on developing a biophysical analysis of the identified flagellar motor proteins. Part of developing this analysis, invloves an intense scale up of cell growth in order to extract enough of the protein from the flagella to run various tests. This project is being carried out by Samantha and Tamara.

Post Translational Modifications of Tubulin- This project is being carried out by Katherine.

Project Updates

RNA Knockdown

Fluorescent Imaging

Biophysical Analysis/Scale-up

Spring 2020- Tamara and Samantha have begun running experiments focused on the impact that adding a buffer to our cultures has on the ability to increase their maximum density.

Fall 2019- Samantha worked on repeating many of the experiemnts from over the summer with several modifications to further determine the best way to improve our culture densities. These experiments included shaking and feeding but we were not able to reach any conclusive results in a method that significantly improved our culture densities. We began to investigate the use of a buffer in our solution to help reduce the acidic waste produced by the cells.

Summer 2019- This summer we have made a lot of progress in regards to the scale-up goal of this project. Samantha completed research on the metabolism of Trypanosomes and met with Dr. Sarah Harcum to discuss methods that her lab uses to improve culture density. With the advice recieved from Dr. Harcum, Samantha was able to begin running experiments utilizing feeding to try and improve our sulture densities. We also recieved funding to purchase a shaker for our incubator and ran a few experiments using this.

Post Translational Modifications of Tubulin

Awards and Presentations

Summer CI and UR- Katherine, Parastoo, and Samantha presented their research from this summer on August 20th at the Summer CI and UR Showcase with other students from Clemson who participated in the Summer CI program or completed research elsewhere.

National Conference of Undergratate Research at Kennesaw State University- Our CI was invited to attend the NCUR conference this year, from April 10th to 13th, and present our research. While at the conference, we attended a career fair, graduate school fair, and various poster presentations from undergraduate students across the country. We also had time to visit the Georgia Aquarium and attend a Braves' game in SunTrust Park.

Clemson Biological Sciences Annual Student Symposium- On April 6th, we presented our research at the 11th Annual Symposium for CBASS here at Clemson, and our poster placed 2nd overall.

Focus on Creative Inquiry- We presented our current research on April 2nd, at the 14th Annual Focus on Creative Inquiry poster forum. Our project recieved the award for the most popular poster