Week 6:
University of Chicago Medical Center

Dimensions Fellow in Research

University of Chicago Medical Center | Chicago, Illinois

August 6, 2013

Fellow in Research

Through my friends on the volleyball team here at the University of Chicago I met a group of students who play sand volleyball! So Saturday of this past weekend I went up to North Avenue Beach and played sand volleyball for a good portion of the day! It was so much fun and made me realize how excited I am for this upcoming Cornell College Volleyball season!

We were bound and determined to fix our staining! We had narrowed down the possibilities a bit last week and all we could do was keep plugging away at the remaining possibilities.

Monday was crazy! We looked at slices from each step of the slice culture fixation, blocking, and staining. When we were getting blobs everywhere we then made all new solutions for everything in case one had gotten contaminated. Even with all new solutions we kept seeing blobs!!! Even slices straight out of the incubator had the blobs!

Monday evening I finally went into the dome library to work on my paper. It is a pretty cool set up being able to see the sky and have natural light while studying!

Tuesday was the big day!!!! We investigated each step in the slice culture incubation process to see how we could have something fluorescing before we had started staining it. We discovered that the Sytox® had gotten contaminated or gone bad. The Sytox® was used to check that there wasn’t cell death in the slices before we used them for staining. After this discovery we tried a different Sytox®, Sytox® Orange. The old Sytox® is the green image below. The new Sytox® Orange is the clear image! No more blobs!!!!!
sytox 6.3x green for blog
sytox 6.3x orange for blog

After weeks of not being able to stain without blobs appearing, Wednesday we finally got to get back into staining!! Since staining for oligodendrocytes doesn’t require letting it go overnight, we tried that on Wednesday. The slices turned out amazing!!! No more blobs!!! The image below is of a good oligodendrocyte stain I did, blob free!!!
cnpase for blog

I met with Darrell Nabers on Wednesday, who works in the Pritzker Medical School Admissions Department here at the University of Chicago! I sent him a draft of my personal statement thus far and he gave me great feedback and talked with me one-on-one about applying for medical school! It was a great meeting!

Thursday morning my program had another group meeting, during which Dr. McDade, who used to be a part of admissions at the Pritzker School of Medicine, broke down how to write a good personal statement paragraph by paragraph. This program has been such a wealth of knowledge for me concerning the application process for medical school!

In the lab on Thursday I worked on taking slice cultures what had non-enriched exosomes and staining for microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons! Friday we had a confocal appointment to see some results finally!

Friday seemed to go so slowly in the morning! I was so excited to go to our confocal appointment to see how our blob-free staining turned out!!! I wasn’t disappointed!
confocal NE microglia
The top left image is of the tagged non-enriched exosomes. The top right image is of our microglia staining. And the bottom left image is an overlay of the top two images, which showed us exactly where in the slice cultures the exosomes went!! So neat!!!!!

Rachel Henning '15

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Psychology. Hometown:DeWitt, Iowa.