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Mackenzie Coston Wins 1st Prize at the NW Development Biology Meeting

By April 1, 2019No Comments

Congratulations to UW Biology senior Mackenzie Coston, who won 1st prize in the undergraduate poster competition at the Northwest Developmental Biology Meeting.

Additional information about Mackenzie’s research and the award:

“My research has been focused on the impact of the Na+/H+ antiporter in asymmetric division of Drosophila neural stem cells. We had previously found that drug treatment resulted in a decrease of osmotic pressure and abnormal asymmetric division in these neural stem cells—we then wondered if this could be tied to the Na+/H+ antiporter, which regulates internal pressure. I performed time-lapse, live-cell imaging of Drosophila larval brains from flies that had different Na+/H+ antiporters knocked down by RNAi. These flies also were fluorescently tagged with GFP to visualize myosin, and mCherry to visualize microtubules. From this imaging we could then examine the dynamics of asymmetric cell division for individual neural stem cells that had Na+/H+ antiporters knocked down. I found that in the RNAi flies, there was a bent mitotic spindle and a large delay in the time if asymmetric division in comparison to our wild-type flies. These results are very interesting as these phenotypes indicate that the Na+/H+ antiporter has an important role in proper asymmetric cell division. I am now going to examine the pH of cells that lack functional Na+/H+ antiporters using a special transgenic Drosophila line, and I will create CRISPR/Cas9 edited flies that have antiporters tagged with fluorescent reporters to visualize their localization.”

Mackenzie presented this research with a poster presentation at the Society for Developmental Biology – Northwest Developmental Biology Meeting at the UW Friday Harbor Labs on March 21, 2019. From this presentation, she was awarded the First Place Undergraduate Poster prize which includes a travel scholarship to the Society for Developmental Biology National Meeting in Boston, MA in July 2019.”