Wednesday, April 12, 2017

URSP Student Rabail Hussain Researches Fetal Microchimerism in Mice

My interest in looking at fetal microchimerism in mice arose after taking Dr. Usher’s class, “Humans, Disease, and Death.” In the class, we focused mostly on the evolutionary cause of diseases. That’s when I discovered Dr. Amy Boddy’s research on fetal microchimerism. Later on, I decided to return to her findings and further look into the phenomenon of fetal microchimerism, with Dr. Usher and Dr. Olmo’s teachings in mind. I discovered that there are a great many theories as to why fetal cells migrate through the maternal body, but no research has ever been conducted to solidify the notion that it is evolutionary. It prompted me to think of the why behind the phenomenon and construct my own theory and, eventually, project. Right now, I’m focusing on refining the technical skills needed and practicing things like PCR, how to extract DNA, and how to design my own primers while we wait for IACUC approval. My work this semester has shown me that research is nothing like organized lab courses: there is no right or wrong result, there is no grade at stake, and things will go wrong all the time. But, in the end, it’s okay, because you’re doing what you love. Working on this project has really solidified my love of research, and taught me how to be dedicated, independent, and adaptable. These are life long skills that I know will be to put to use as I pursue a medical degree after graduation.