Junlu and Jason to present at Student Seminar Thursday (11.June) at noon
Jinlu and Jason will be presenting Student Seminar this week in CBRB 2289 at noon. In keeping with Erik’s tradition, I have asked the speakers to provide a brief overview for their talks. Hope to see you there!
Background for Jinlu’s talk
PPAR gamma, a transcription factor and known regulator of adipogenesis (development of fat cells), has recently been shown to have important effects with regard to blood pressure and vascular function. Based on both gene-level and exon-level micro-array gene expression studies, we have identified a set of genes that are differentially regulated (either up or down) in transgenic mice with dominant negative PPAR gamma (P467L) targeted to vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). We have recently developed a method based on quantile normalization to combine the data from different platforms of microarrays. Studies are continuing to experimentally validate these changing genes by Real-Time PCR.
Background for Jason’s talk
Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasite species of the genus Leishmania. The Leishmania parasite is a vector borne pathogen transmitted between mammalian hosts by the bite of a sand fly. In their mammalian hosts, Leishmania avoid destruction by the immune system by surviving and replicating intracellularly in the phagosomes of macrophages. Leishmania spp. are endemic in Africa, Latin America, parts of Asia including the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East and European countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. Individual species can be endemic to specific regions, with some degree of overlap.
The pathology of leishmaniasis varies greatly depending on the infecting species. Major clinical forms of Leishmania infections include cutaneous ulcers, disfiguring mucocutaneous infection, and fatal visceral infection. New forms of disease are being discovered in individuals who are co-infected with HIV-1 and leishmania. Furthermore, for each symptomatic infection, there are many more asymptomatic infections that occur. Identifying Leishmania spp. infection, distinguishing between the species and detecting asymptomatic infections, is often problematic. I have been developing an assay based on qPCR that is both sensitive in detecting Leishmania, and also capable of distinguishing between the most common disease causing species. This assay will be applied to a large cohort in an ongoing family study of the genetics contribution to the outcome of leishmania infection. We also hope this assay will be helpful as a clinical diagnostic tool, and also assist epidemiologists and ecologists in efforts to minimize exposure to infection.