Vera Pikalova was born in Uzbekistan; she is one of seven siblings who grew up in Washington and attended the Lakeside School District. As a running start student she found learning thrilling and believes that education is important for everyone. Now a senior in college she wants to pursue her doctoral degree in immunology. Within immunology, her interest is on exploring how the human body responds to pathogens and cancer. Her curiosity in immunology began as a result of growing up with health conscious parents.
Currently Vera is working with Dr. Matos, biology faculty, who does research on the Sigma virus in Drosophila. Her McNair research internship analyzes the difference in the sigma virus of drosophila anesthetized with either Argon or ice for ten generations. If no significant difference is found, Argon can be used as a anesthesia instead of ice, making the work of many biologists easier.
Summer 2011 McNair Internship Faculty Research Mentor: Dr. Luis Matos, EWU Biology
20th Annual National McNair Research Conference and Graduate Fair, Lake Geneva, WI: November 11-13, 2011
Presented by the Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP)
and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Abstract: Sigma Virus Genetics are Unaffected by Argon Gas Anesthesia of Host Flies
Pikalova, Vera A., (Matos, Luis), Department of Biology, Eastern Washington University, Washington
Carbon dioxide is the anesthetic of choice in research laboratories working with Drosophila melanogaster. However, some laboratories work with flies that are infected with the sigma rhabdovirus. This virus imparts a CO2 sensitivity to these flies. Thus, infected flies die upon exposure to CO2. Flies infected with the sigma virus typically are anesthetized with ice. However, ice anesthesia is problematic. Other workers have determined that argon gas anesthesia does not affect the fitness of the flies when used for multiple generations. Here I test the hypothesis that the argon gas anesthesia did not alter the virus' genetics over the same ten generation period. To test this hypothesis, RNA was extracted from infected flies, a segment of the virus' nucleocapsid gene was reverse transcribed, amplified by the polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. Sequencing results showed no significant differences between the genetic sequences of the sigma virus of D. Melanogaster anesthetized with argon or ice for during 10 generations. Thus, argon gas is a suitable anesthetic for sigma-infected D. melanogaster.
Many thanks to Dr. Luis Matos for all his help and mentoring in Vera's research and graduate applications. Through his mentoring Vera learned valuable research techniques and applied to graduate schools.
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