Field of research: Cancer Biology
Lab: Jill Bargonetti
School: Manhattan Hunter Science High School
Year: 10th/11th Grade
During the summer, I had the opportunity to work in Dr. Jill Bargonetti’s lab. Alongside members of her research group, I was able to learn about the p53 tumor suppressor and the various sizes of a p53-negative regulator called Mdm2. It is still unclear how this all relates to cancer but Dr. Bargonetti’s research group is working to figure this out. In the lab, I was able to grow bacteria that had vectors which contained different mdm2 cloned products from cancer cells. The basic size of the full-length mdm2 is around 1 kilobase and my job was to look for clones that differed in size from the full length. Different sizes could mean that there were changes of that gene expression pattern and could therefore affect p53 in different ways. p53, as mentioned before, is a tumor suppressor (prevents cancer) that can do various things to prevent DNA damage. It can activate DNA damage repair, induce growth arrest, or begin apoptosis (cell death). Mdm2 is an oncogene (meaning it can cause cancer) that is known to repress p53 transcriptional activity and will abnormally activate and cause cancer. Only the different sized mdm2 are useful for the lab.