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Marshall student participates in fellowship at Masonic Medical Research Laboratory
"Participating in the summer fellowship program at the MMRL has been an incredible experience that I will never forget," Brown said. "It was amazing to have the opportunity to be involved with some of the groundbreaking research being conducted there. The knowledge I gained will not only be beneficial as I complete my studies at Marshall but as I go on to graduate school and my career."
Brown said she worked in the Molecular Genetics department both years with Yuesheng Wu as her mentor. Her task was screening patients with Brugada Syndrome (a cardiac arrhythmia) to identify any variations in the genes that she was assigned.
The process begins with a patient's blood being sent to the lab (after informed consent is obtained by his or her doctor) where the DNA is then extracted. Brown's work involved amplifying the DNA, performing a series of reactions to prepare the sample for sequencing, sequencing the DNA in a machine that uses a laser to activate a fluorescent tag added to the DNA sample and analyzing the sequences to look for variations.
"When we discover a variation, we look it up on different databases, such as the 1000 Genomes Project, to determine the frequency of the variation," Brown said "I found three mutations this summer in the gene I worked with. Performing expression studies and functional studies with these mutations may provide insight into the gene's potential link(s) to cardiac tissue as well as Brugada Syndrome