Bailey Mikytuck ’20 Interns in Rutgers Medical School Neuroscience Lab

My name is Bailey Mikytuck and I am a Neuroscience major from the class of 2020. This summer I am working as an intern in Dr. Levison’s lab, part of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s department of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Neuroscience. Dr. Levison’s work focuses on the regenerative response of the brain from various types of injury. Currently, the lab is focusing on testing a novel therapeutic which could be used in a non-invasive way to promote neuronal regeneration after neonatal brain injury.

As an intern I am working directly alongside a graduate student. Our project for the summer is examining the effect of a novel therapeutic after Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, in which the brain does not receive enough oxygen or blood. This condition effects 3 out of every 1000 live births and triggers subsequent neurodegeneration. Long term effects of HIE include Cerebral Palsy, cognitive impairment, and delayed development.

To study this condition, we use a mouse model of Hypoxic Ischemic, in which the mice are put in conditions where oxygen and blood flow is limited. Using these mice we then study the effects of the drug which is distributed at different intervals of time.

This project involves first inducing Hypoxic Ischemic injury in mice. Once they have sustained the injury, they are administered the drug at different time points after injury. At day 13 post-injury the mice will undergo behavioral testing, which will examine their motor and cognitive skills. On day 14 post-injury the mice will be perfused, and the brains will be removed and frozen. The frozen brains will be cryosectioned and placed onto microscope slides. These slides will be stained using immunofluorescence. Immunofluorescence staining uses antibodies that bind to specific parts of cells. Under a light microscope, the slides will fluoresce, and specific parts of cells will be visible. In our project, we are looking at proliferating cells.

The goal of this project will be to determine the effects of the therapeutic after Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Through the behavioral testing, we can quantify the amount of impairment the animals experience and compare it to a control group. Through analyzing the stains, we can identify and quantify which cells are proliferating.

This image depicts a microscope image of a mouse brain taken in the lab. Labeled in green are proliferating cells, labeled in blue are nuclei, and labeled in red are astrocytes.

So far, we have worked on perfecting our staining technique and have analyzed data from previous experiments. We have begun our first round of inducing Hypoxic Ischemia in mice and will have brain tissue samples from these animals in about two weeks.

I am thankful for the Skidmore Summer Funded Internship program for allowing me this opportunity to further my knowledge and prepare for my future goals of pursuing a PhD. By spending this time immersed in a laboratory setting, I have learned laboratory skills and techniques which will not only aid me in my classes at Skidmore but my education beyond Skidmore as well. I hope to bring my passion for research and Neuroscience back and be an active member of the Skidmore community.

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