I am currently working some personal projects with the goal of funding both my education and future research.
The peer review resulted in some questions that are very much answerable within the confines of our existing data. My PI is currently mulling over exactly what direction he wants to take. In the meantime I am brainstorming and preparing to dive into my first attempts at grant-writing! Wish me luck!
I still work in Dr. Bennett’s lab at The University of Southern Indiana, albeit in a much different role than before. Now we talk out our projects together and I am currently awaiting the results of a peer review before embarking on our next project. We are expecting/hopeful that our previous work is to be published in the next month or so. This is especially exciting for me as this is my first publication. I am a very happy undergraduate under Dr. Bennett and I could not ask for a better principal investigator/mentor/human being.
Dr. Richard Bennett – The University of Southern Indiana
Mustard gas is a chemical weapon with a history dating back nearly 100 years. It is considered by many to be the most dangerous chemical weapon in existence due to its ability to harm individuals, including those wearing a gas mask, and its ease of synthesis. Its acute effects include painful blisters and respiratory lesions. Chronically, individuals that survive acute attacks often suffer from life-long respiratory and ocular complications, including lung cancer. It has also been shown that mustard gas can induce cancers in non-respiratory locations as well, indicating that mustard gas can act systemically as well as locally.
A common characteristic of many cancers is the appearance of multiple centrosomes (centrosome amplification) in cancer cells. Centrosomes are small organelles that guide chromosomes toward spindle poles during mitosis. Normally, the number of centrosomes is tightly regulated by a protein called p53 so that only two centrosomes are present during mitosis. If this regulation is disrupted, cells can enter mitosis with more than two centrosomes, and chromosomes can be segregated unequally, causing chromosome instability and cell death. However, some genetic instability can give cells a growth advantage which is thought to lead to cancer progression.
In Dr. Bennetts lab, we will continue to study the effect of a mustard gas surrogate (2-chloroethyl ethylsulfide) on centrosome number and the overall relationship with p53 protein. The techniques we will use include, but are not limited to, cell culture techniques, animal cell transfection, western blots, immunofluorescence staining and microscopy, etc.
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