Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical Vocational School
Taunton, MA

Andrew Allen
Stanley Center for Psychiatric Research

Human genetic studies have suggested that genetic variations in the voltage-gated calcium channel CaV3.3 may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.  Several disease-associated variations occur on or near putative N-linked glycosylation sites, suggesting that some disease-associated variants of CaV3.3 may exhibit deficits in subcellular localization or protein trafficking. In order to understand the functional impact of these variants on CaV3.3, Taylor helped develop a live-cell imaging assay that uses GFP-tagged CaV3.3 to quantitatively determine the expression and localization different CaV3.3 variants.  Two variants were assessed using this method (N244A and R1346H),  and the results suggested that the N244 residue is important for membrane localization of CaV3.3, while the R1346 residue is important for total protein expression of CaV3.3.

Taylor enjoyed being able to learn from people who took similar paths as her toward their science career, and also being able to expand her horizons and learn some incredible new things. "My mentor and all the work being done in the lab has actually made me start thinking about pursuing neuropsychiatry in the future. I believe this was an amazing opportunity to open my mind to more possible majors," said Taylor.