Argonne Research Symposium

Argonne Research Symposium

Hello, Ramblers!

lab group

Meet my lab group!  Last Friday we presented our work about fetal alcohol syndrome at the annual Research Symposium at Argonne National Laboratories.  Argonne National Laboratories is located in Lemont, Illinois (about an hour away from Loyola) and is home to an on-campus advanced photon source which produces the highest-energy X-ray beams of all the Western Hemisphere.

More importantly, Argonne houses this annual symposium, where hundreds of students from around the country gather to present research posters.  We met students from Missouri who study brine shrimp, while in a few rooms over we heard from Indiana students investigating bacteriophages.  Before our own presentations, we toured the campus’s multiple buildings and learned about Argonne’s immense impact on life in Chicago, from traffic control to reduction of pollution.

At 11 AM, it was my group’s turn to set up our posters and to present.  We took turns sharing our findings and answering questions posed by both students and professors.  My team’s research in particular concerned zebrafish development, specifically the role that the raldh2 gene plays in patterning many midline structures in vertebrate organisms.  Raldh2 is short for retinaldehyde dehydrogenase 2, the enzyme for which the gene codes.  Past tests and experiments have shown that when mothers drink during pregnancy, the ethanol interferes with this enzyme’s function and ultimately impedes the embryo’s development.  Our team is trying to learn more about the regulation of this raldh2 gene in the hopes that we can more fully understand treatments against fetal alcohol syndrome.

Since June 2014 I have worked on the FAS project with this talented group of undergraduates and our wonderful research mentor Dr. Pickett, and I cannot wait to see where this research brings us next.  Without a doubt, research with this team is what verifies my passion for genetics and medicine, and I recommend to any premedical student to get involved with research as soon as possible.

I’ll keep you posted on our findings, Ramblers!

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