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Lifechips student Amanda Janesick's rearch interview with a local paper


NSF Funded IGERT-Lifechips program at University of California, Irvine presents Amanda Janesick, a Lifechips student, from the department of Developmental and Cell Biology who was interviewed by the Orange County Register paper for the November 2009 issue. Mr. Gary Robbins of the Orange County Register was interested in communicating research conducted at UC-Irvine to the public, through photography, and he contacted Amanda for her research with Xeonpus, and provided text (for a caption) and photographs of embryos stained in purple for genes regulating the pre-placodal ectoderm.

Basically, Amanda’s research in Xenopus (the frog) is to determine the role of retinoic acid signaling in the development of the pre-placodal ectoderm, which is a special region in the embryo that develops into the sensory organs (ears, eyes, sensory ganglia). Early patterning of this region is essential, and we have shown that retinoic acid signaling plays a key role in regulating the borders of gene expression in the pre-placodal ectoderm. The two genes of interest in the pre-placodal region were Tbx1 and Ripply3. When Tbx1 is knocked out in humans, the result is DiGeorge Syndrome. Rpply3 is a gene located on chromosome 21, and thus it is overexpressed in Down Syndrome. Both Down and DiGeorge syndromes have known placode defects, and Amanda predict that they share similar signaling paythways that contribute to their pathology. Amanda hopes that this work will lead to a connection between Down and DiGeorge Syndromes.

Amanda expressed that the Lifechips program has given her both the funds and the confidence to communicate with Mr. Robbins who was not trained in Biology. It was a challenge to her but because through program, she is taught to be leader and part of this is knowing how to talk to the media and the community who could ultimately be funding her research.

Address Goals

Lifechips student Amanda Janesick’s interview with the Orange County Register paper reflects the program’s goal of fostering future leaders who are able to communicate with others with different backgrounds and discuss about their current research projects. Lifechips program activities and events such as seminars prepare students to be comfortable in approaching unfamiliar topics and able to absorb information as much information as possible.