This week, I spent most of my time on research. Previously, the postdoc whom I have been working with since last month cultured colon cancer stem cells and normal colon cancer cells in 3-D culture. The advantage of 3-D culture over traditional 2-D lies in that the former mimics in vivo microenvironment more than the latter. As a first trial, early this week I sectioned normal colon cancer cells fixed by parrafin(wax) into slices of 7mm, fixed them and then did H&E staining. The initial success prompted me to section more speciman in order to do immunofluorescence staining which is more target-specific.
Besides, I attended a seminar on cancer stem cell given by EMD company. Since I have been working on colon cancer stem cells this summer, I found tremedous guidance from this seminar which pointed out three main directions within cancer stem cell research: 1. single cell study;2. How niche contributes to CSC. 3. response of CSC to chemotherapy.
Lastly, I also attended my first lab meeting here. One of labmates gave a wonderful talk on her work in the past few months. Previously, by using aCGH array, she identified increased copy of certain region in certain cancer cell lines which turned out to be a cluster of microRNA. microRNA is a hairpin RNA with a length of ~20bp. By binding to 3'UTR of mRNA in mamalians cells, they can downregulate target gene expression. Since increased copy number is associated with higher expression of certain microRNA which led to downregulated target gene expression, she is seeking to study if the effect can be reversed by using specific antisense RNA which binds to microRNA.
Overall, this week I feel fully immersed in research study from which I learnt new technique as well as new knowledge.