Name: Hanna Schulz
Education: B.S. in Biological Science at Colorado State University
Hometown: Parker, Colorado
Career goal: Conduct research utilizing molecular techniques in microbiology.
Favorite Memory: Presenting her work at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology conference in Austin, Texas. “I felt accomplished compiling my research from over the past year and then presenting it to others in the scientific community,” Hanna shares.
Project: Understanding hormone release and protein translation by analyzing gene expression in the eyestalk throughout the molt cycle of the green crab, Carcinus maenas.
Hanna previously looked at the levels of mRNA, a messenger molecule that brings genetic information to a part of a cell that produces proteins, of five genes throughout the molt cycle. She measures the mRNA in the eyestalk ganglia, or nerve bundles, of the green shore crab and discovered a general decrease in protein production, or translation, throughout the molt cycle. To further her research, she looks at four more genes that help regulate protein translation: mTOR, Akt, Rheb and S6K. This allows scientists to see how different genes affect the production of proteins throughout the molt cycle.
Hanna takes a sample from one of the two eyestalk ganglia and isolates the mRNA. She re-copies the mRNA into complementary DNA (cDNA) and measures the concentration using a Quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction (qPCR) machine. From qPCR values, she calculates the concentrations of each of the mRNA to find out how the levels change during molting.