During my research placement at the Medical Research Centre for Developmental Neurobiology with Dr Tara Keck, I was able to take part in various experiments and techniques from electrophysiology to measure the potential difference and current of neurons, using computer software ‘Fiji’ to analyse neurons that are Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) positive in inhibitory cells and immunohistochemistry to identify specific proteins.
My last two days involved carrying out immunohistochemistry to detect Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP). This protein is usually used as a cell marker and is expressed in one of the two types of brain cells called neuroglia, particularly astrocytes.
The image below displays astrocytes that express GFAP in the subventricular zone. This region of the brain is recognized as being the site of neurogenesis, the growth of new neurons which can also be seen in the image as the collection of cells on the left hand side of the subventricular zone.
My two week experience led me to the discovery of what to expect in neuroscience research and the rewarding feeling of working alongside post doctors and PhD students. The work can become somewhat frustrating when the day does not go as planned however the images and results produced are very pleasing.
By Munira B