Utilizing ChIP to study non-coding genes in HSCs, and aging in hepatocytes

Mentors: Monika Kowalczyk, Irina Bochkis, Dawn Thompson

Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP) is a technique that is used to study the interactions between sites on the DNA, and the proteins to which they are bound. ChIP allows for the pull-down of DNA fragments that are associated with specific proteins inside cells.

Quinnee used the ChIP method to investigate two different areas of biology this summer. In one project, Quinnee identified which long intergenic non-coding RNAs were specifically expressed in mouse HSCs (hematopoietic stem cells, or blood progenitor cells). In another project, Quinnee investigated the ways liver metabolism changes as aging occurs in mice. To this end, Quinnee investigated all of the DNA sites bound by the transcription factor FXR, an important liver protein that regulates glucose and lipid levels, and bile acid production. In this pilot experiment, Quinnee compared patterns of FXR binding to DNA in the liver cells of 3-month old mice, versus 21-month old mice.



Quinnee, a senior at Chelsea High School, studied the role of non-coding RNAs in hematopoietic stem cells, and the role of the FXR protein in liver metabolism and aging.