Being a part of the INBRE program has been quite the experience. I had never realized how elaborate research work is! This program marks my first time being involved in an active research lab, and I am already so intrigued. All the skills I learned in my earlier labs and classes are finally coming into play.
I am working in Dr. Julia Martin’s lab, where we study the effects of the transition metal, manganese (Mn) on the homeostasis and pathogenicity of Streptococcus pneumoniae. The pneumococcus bacteria possesses a number of importers and exporters that control the influx and efflux of Mn into and out of the cell. An excessive amount, as well as a depletion, of Mn inside the cell creates problems in the development and virulence of the bacteria.
For my project, I am investigating the gene, spd_1451, sitting upstream of a Mn repressor to find out whether the gene is expressed and if so, at what conditions. There is little to nothing known about this gene, and so, I am excited to be a part of uncovering its role in the pneumococcus. It is hypothesized that the small putative protein aids in the balance of Mn into and out of the cell.
In the past weeks, I have been performing many PCR and electrophoresis gel runs and have become quite proficient at it. I can definitely say that I am getting accustomed to the adrenaline rush I experience from the anticipation of viewing the gel underneath the UV light. This is just another step in the amplification of DNA. Thus far, I have been decently successful in the making of DNA and have sown together my first template needed for the knockout of the spd_1451 gene in the pneumococcus.
I am certainly not ready to jump to any conclusions concerning my research project. However, what I can safely say is that I am very grateful for this research opportunity, and I look forward for what is to come in the following weeks!