Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2012
Mentor: Deborah J. Clegg
Department: Internal Medicine
Room number: F5.252
Phone number: (214) 648-3401
Project title: Estrogen’s role in regulating mitochondrial function
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): N/A
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): N/A – cell culture work
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects)
Brief Description of Project:
The purpose of this project is to identify the role estrogens have in regulating mitochondrial function/number/activity. We have several cell lines that express differing types of estrogen receptors, and we will expose these different lines to estrogens, and look at mitochondrial number by measuring gene expression using qPCR. We will determine mitochondrial activity using qPCR and will focus on differing levels of mitochondrial gene expression associated with activated mitochondria. We will assess mitochondrial function by exposing the cells to estrogens and then isolating the mitochondria and running the mitochondria through a ‘seahorse’ machine that will provide us information on the oxidative capacity of the mitochondria following estrogen exposure. The hypothesis under test is that estrogens, working through the nuclear estrogen receptor alpha, will enhance mitochondrial gene expression and function.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Nasim Sobhani rotated through the laboratory last year and focused on determining the different stages of the estrus cycle and how this was impacted by manipulation of estrogen receptor alpha in different hypothalamic nuclei. This work resulted in authorship on a Cell Metabolism manuscript that was published in October of 2011 (Xu et al., Cell Metabolism 2011).