Project Title: Can a Community of Bacteria in Your Gut Affect Your Immune System’s Response to Cancer?
BASIS Advisor: Ms. Das
Internship Location: Angela Christiano's lab at the Dermatology Department of Columbia University Medical School
Onsite Mentor: Dr. Rolando Perez-Lorenzo
Interning with Dr. Rolando Perez-Lorenzo over the last two summers at Dr. Angela Christiano’s lab in the Department of Dermatology of Columbia University, I will continue my previous work on the leaky gut and alopecia areata but with a refined focus in melanoma. I will examine the correlation between tumor growth and permeability as well as immune response markers in the gut. How does the microbiome modulate immune checkpoint response? A certain degree of inflammation is needed in a normal and healthy gut microbiome because it modulates immune responses. However, if the inflammation is reduced, then the immune system’s responses will be systematically less effective. We know that there are essentially two extremes between which a balance must be struck. On the one hand, a less permeable, or closed, gut that has no inflammation will not call for an immune response, so it is associated with cancer formation. However, if the gut is open and has too much inflammation, this will lead to autoimmunity. Attempting to control gut permeability is therefore crucial and could be regulated by exposure to the microbiome. We are trying to determine what “bugs” in theory help the response to checkpoint inhibitors by giving these to restore checkpoint response and observe the resulting changes in gut barrier function and immune response. I will continue my work there while honing my investigative skills, and I hope that the opportunity afforded by my Senior Project will be used to procure new insight in the field of cancer research as well as serve as an impetus for my later specialization.
Yes, it’s a catchy song by Europe, but this also marks my tenth week on site at my lab for my senior project. Although I still plan on working for at least the next several weeks, until I am able to fully complete my project and put together some writing, this will most likely be […]
I planned to graft my new mice on Wednesday, meaning that I had a bit of time to prepare the melanoma cells that I would inject and do any final preparations for the start of this experiment. All the mice needed to be grouped and randomized. Each mouse also needed to be labeled individually so […]
While continuing to prepare for the second stage of my experiment, I spent most of this week running analyses to represent the results of the first stage. I ran two different quantitative PCRs (polymerase chain reactions) in order to see the amplification and expression of the specific tight junction protein DNA that I am looking […]
Since treatment of my mice was supposed to last twenty days, Thursday would be the last day of this part of my experiment. Tuesday and Wednesday went by quickly reviewing some articles and literature, continuing to culture cells, helping out with another experiment at my lab, doing a PCR, and preparing for the twentieth day […]
Since all the mice were already grafted, tumor progression was carefully measured and observed throughout the week. Water with medicines was made regularly, and the animals were also gavaged for treatments. I had to split some cells several times to make sure that they would not overgrow and still be useable. Some samples were also […]
Some more mice we ordered arrived on Monday, to begin the next stage to my experiment. Since the mice need to acclimate to their new environment in our facilities, we decided that I would graft and gavage—administer compounds orally, directly to the stomach through a feeding needle—on Friday, leaving time to measure growth progression regularly […]
Though this week was filled with dissections and cell culture, I spent a lot of my time running gels for western blots in the background. In the beginning of the week, it was noticed that it’s necessary to sacrifice several cages with animals. This meant that they also had to be dissected afterword. This was […]
As the title so subtly suggests, this week did, in fact, include some operations with intestinal organs. First thing on Monday, however, I had to do some control tissue optimization building on last week’s slides, in order to adequately be able to interpret the initial tests. A fidgety microscope did not help, but once the […]
The last time I was at the lab, I was there for a short visit to discuss my senior project in November. Previously, though, I spent the last two summers working there, and so it was wonderful to return to Dr. Christiano’s lab team this past Monday. Once again joining Dr. Perez-Lorenzo, I was brought […]
Interning with Dr. Rolando Perez-Lorenzo over the last two summers at Dr. Angela Christiano’s lab in the Department of Dermatology of Columbia University, I wanted to continue my previous work on the leaky gut and alopecia areata but with a refined focus in melanoma. I will examine the correlation between tumor growth and permeability as […]