University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus
College of Natural Sciences
Research Project: Gene Profiling of Nervous Regeneration Processes
Off-site collaborators: Andrew Cameron (Caltech)
Description: Dr. Garcia-Arraras has pioneered the use of the echinoderm Holothuria glaberrima to study the process of regeneration and organogenesis. His research focuses on the molecular aspects of nervous system regeneration, specifically on the genes that are important for the regeneration process to occur. His lab is generating an expressed sequence tag (EST) database for H. glaberrima sequences obtained from three cDNA libraries, of normal radial nerve cord, and two from regenerating (5-7-days and 12-14-days after nerve cord transection). Their work is aimed at finding different profiles of gene expression and at determining the function of specific genes during the process of regeneration. Students will be involved in bioinformatics analyses to determine gene sequences, structural domains and gene characterization. In addition, the evolution of particular genes will be targeted. Finally, benchwork experiments using PCR, Northerns and Westerns applied to the nervous system regeneration will be done to fully characterize the gene’s expression profile.