Mar
14

Calcium activity in primary cell culture

Hello all, So far, all of my experiments have been recording calcium activity in vivo in the developing nervous system of the Xenopus embryo. While this in vivo method has many advantages, as cell-cell interactions are preserved and this the activity that “naturally” occurs in the developing embryo, we are unable to examine gene expression in individual cells after…
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Jan
26

Commence thesis writing!

My main experimental focus right now is to acquire more high-quality images of calcium activity in the developing neural plate. I want to record very clear images of calcium activity, with minimal movement of the sample, so that we can use software to automatically identify cells and track them during the images. This will enable…
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Dec
05

Zapping cells with lasers!

My research has taken an interesting turn… this semester, I have been looking for ways to alter calcium activity in the developing nervous system of frog embryos. To review, I image calcium activity with a fluorescent microscope. Since different levels of calcium activity are implicated in different developmental consequences, we wanted to see what would…
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Sep
15

The effect of caffeine on early neural development

Hey guys! Just thought I’d give an update on how my Honors project is going for the beginning of the semester… I’m continuing to work with pharmacological agents, to manipulate calcium activity during the development of the nervous system in frogs. As I mentioned before, I’ve found that caffeine increases the level of calcium activity…
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Aug
07

Improvements with confocal microscopy images: highlighting cell membranes with red fluorescent protein

So far, I’ve been imaging the neural tissue of frog embryos with only one fluorescent protein: GCaMP. This green fluorescent protein lights up when levels of calcium are high within the cell. However, it is often difficult to identify individual cells within the image, because background fluorescence is relatively similar between adjacent cells. I recently…
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