Biology Research - Regenerating Retina Cells: Video Transcript

Chris Makaroff [Dean of the College of Arts and Science; Professor of Chemistry]: There are pretty much unlimited opportunities for students to do research in the College of Arts and Science. It runs the gamut of research in anthropology to zoology, from biochemistry to microbiology to history to understanding cultures in different parts of the world.

Renate Gyenge [Zoology major]: I wanted to be a Zoology major because I've always had an interest in science, and I knew I wanted to pursue some kind of career path in that field.

Jeffrey Bierly [Biology major and Premedical Studies co-major]: I decided in high school that I would like to become a doctor, so I really went into the Biology major to get myself a good foundation to build upon in order to go into that profession.

Leah Stetzel [Biology major]: I had some really great science teachers in high school, and they piqued my interest in science, and then I started considering careers in science.

Dean Chris Makaroff: When they get a chance to get into the research lab or to work with a faculty member one-on-one, they now get to see how what they've learned in that biology class or their history class can actually be applied to solve problems that people are interested in learning more about.

Tracy Haynes [Senior Lecturer of Biology]: We are specifically trying to identify the role that a cell-signaling molecule, PI3-kinase, plays in reducing retina regeneration in the embryonic chick.

Renate Gyenge: Today I'll be looking at a sample of a histology section under the microscope that's fixed on the slides.

Katia Del Rio-Tsonis [Professor of Biology]: We are also interested in eye development, so Jeff, for example here, will be looking at the role of a particular molecule that we're interested in, doing the process of eye development.

Jeffrey Bierly: I am specifically looking at one particular factor called C3A. It's in the immune system generally and causes the inflammation response that our bodies use to defend against different diseases and things, and how that particular molecule is actually present during the regeneration of the eye.

Professor Katia Del Rio-Tsonis: Leah is studying the role of epigenetics and the regulation of retina regeneration in the embryonic chick.

Leah Stetzel: I'll be doing an immunohistochemistry, which is a way to localize proteins or antigens in the eye tissue, and we do that by exploiting antibodies that specifically bind to those antigens.

Dean Chris Makaroff: The whole idea behind research and independent study is to put previous knowledge into a new context, or to apply what we know in one area into a new area to help us get a better understanding.

Senior Lecturer Tracy Haynes: The long-term implications are to be able to induce retina regeneration in other organisms, hopefully one day, humans.

Professor Katia Del Rio-Tsonis: So, we can come up with a mechanism that we can induce regeneration of retina cells. We can actually replace those lost retina cells and maybe bring back the vision.

Renate Gyenge: The experiences I learned in this lab are not only just the scientific aspects but also how to work as a group, how to work on a team, and communication skills.

Jeffrey Bierly: Recently I've taken over a few of my own undergraduate assistants to help me out in the project. Trying to teach them different things has taught me a lot that I'll be able to go forward and use in my future.

Leah Stetzel: One of the highlights so far has been presenting at the Undergraduate Research Forum in the spring.

Renate Gyenge: It was really exciting to present what I had been working on for the past year.

Jeffrey Bierly: I have also gotten great opportunities to help grow as an educator, and also just a person myself.

Leah Stetzel: It's easy to get caught up in the little experiments that you do every day, but to see it all come together and flow smoothly, it was just very rewarding.

[April 2016]