Stem cells have many different types, but they all share two important features. They can divide infinitively, and have the potential to differentiate into any other mature cells. Some stem cells have more potency (totipotent) and some have less potency (pluripotent, multipotent) to differentiation into other cells. About a year ago, my mentor and I discussed the possibility of differentiating stem cells into brown fat cells. Brown fat cells, contains high amount of mitochondria which can burn fatty acids and glucoses. It means, by increasing the amount of brown fat cells in human body obesity can be cured. Obesity is one of the greatest health concerns in the US in past few decades. Discovering a new method of treatment for obesity, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can find a relief for one-third of U.S. population to stop suffering from obesity. As a biology major student, my long-term goal is to pursue my education in medicine to cure as many people as I can. Finding a possible cure to obesity can be the greatest ways to reach my goal.
My mentor and I scheduled to have a meeting every Friday to discuss the progress in the project, to share the restrictions of the experiment and to find solutions to any difficulty that comes up. In our weekly basis, we study and gather accurate updates of the topic, practice required lab techniques to work with cells and maintain the lab ready for cell culture. We have ordered multipotent stem cells from a cell provider company, ATCC. Once stem cells arrive we can culture and differentiate them. multipotent stem cells are very sensitive to infection, and also the timetable of the experiment is very important. Therefore, stem cells need to be used as soon as they arrive. In the mean time, every part of the experiment needs to be set up so we can start the experiment as soon as I received the stem cells. For example, this week I practiced PCR helping other student’s project. I also calculated the possibility of creating a new medium to use in the cell culture. Medium with new proportions based on previous studies can increase the accuracy of the stem cell differentiation. This means, the more accurate the ingredient proportions in the medium, the more brown fat cells will be produced using multipotent stem cells.