My experience in INBRE thus far has been both engaging and challenging. Throughout the past few weeks, I have collected an incredible amount of data, and learned a great deal about the projects that go on within the lab.
As a researcher in Dr. Groome's lab, I am using the Cut-Open Voltage Clamp technique with Xenopus laevis eggs that express genes coding for ion channels which have parallels to human muscle tissue. The ultimate goal of my research is to classify and characterize one of the domains, Domain 2, in the Sodium 1.4 (Nav1.4) ion channel in order to determine it's function and possible structure. The methodology behind this requires an understanding of electro-physiology and how mutations in the voltage sensors of Domain 2 affect channel function, alongside many other facets of knowledge.
Apart from the data collection techniques being complicated, the experience has taught me an incredible deal about a variety of aspects of biology. In order to gather our data, we need to use molecular biology to synthesize RNA, make competent cells, perform primer design, and a plethora of other important tasks for experiment setup.Holistically, the work that I am performing with Dr. Groome has been an excellent model for what I'd expect as a research scientist. Between the specific work with ion channels and the more general scope of molecular biology, in addition to lab maintenance and animal care, I feel like INBRE has been an invaluable experience, and an excellent introduction to work I would like to perform in the future!