Dr. Naomi Hartopp, Biology, Sheffield
The question of how ageing affects our cellular and molecular response to stress is one that is yet to be sufficiently explored, complicated by the observation that many of these same mechanisms are accelerated or hijacked in disease states. This summer project will use the mutant Huntingtin protein, mutated in Huntington’s Disease (HD), and its effect on in vitro cultured cells as a model for investigating dysregulated ageing mechanisms. The student will culture healthy young and older donor cells and introduce the Huntingtin protein. The presence of the protein will be detected using immunoblotting and the effect on cellular mechanisms will be assessed using fluorescent microscopy techniques. You will have the opportunity to attend divisional neuroscience seminars and regular lab meetings. You will be expected to undertake training, liaise with lab members to plan, and execute experiments and manage your time accordingly to carry out experiments and associated data analysis. We predict that the cells from younger people will be more resilient to the mutant Huntingtin protein than cells from older people, and this could facilitate further research into the mechanism of cellular ageing. Students will be expected to present their findings orally at a research day in York in September 2024.