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Student Stem Cell Project Accepted for Capitol Hill Presentation

A research abstract written by four students from the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics has been selected for presentation on Capitol Hill. Christopher Heiser, Marvin Luu, Joyce Valencia, and Eric Hinderleider have been invited to present their research into stem cell biology in Washington, D.C. next month.

The abstract was among the 60 out of 396 entries selected by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) to participate in CUR's annual "Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill" event, April 25. The abstract is titled “Differentiation of Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells into Neuroendocrine Cells in Vitro.”

The abstract describes a collaborative project investigating the potential of mouse embryonic stem cells to develop into hormone-secreting neurons (ie, neuroendocrine cells) in vitro. The research was carried out by a group of six undergraduate students under the guidance of faculty mentor Dr. Mohammed El Majdoubi, assistant professor of biology at Dominican.

Prior to conducting their research, the students were trained to acquire the technical skills necessary to maintain, grow, and manipulate mouse embryonic stem cells to differentiate into several cell types such as neurons, glial cells, and muscle cells. The students also learned immuno-fluorescence microscopy approaches needed to identify the newly derived adult cells.

The research project aims to develop a model system to study the early development of adult cells under the microscope. These experiments will be used as templates for semester-long laboratory experiments that will provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to further develop their critical thinking as well as their research skills, notes Dr. El Majdoubi. 

Dr. Majdoubi was director of the Morphology and Cell Imaging Core in the Center for Reproductive Sciences at the University of California San Francisco prior to joining Dominican’s faculty in 2005.


Posted on March 14, 2007


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