On something I published

Now that PhD interviews are over and, with them, this whole process of applying for PhDs has come to its end, I find myself with enough time to do some writing and liven up this blog a bit. And with that in mind, I wanted to share the first piece I have written and has been published in a journal (yay!).

When I was in Oxford I started collaborating as a page editor with Phenotype, a journal of the Oxford University Biochemical Society that every term publishes short articles by students, postdocs, PIs and alumni from a wide range of disciplines. After I handed in my MSc Thesis I decided that it would be cool to write about what I had been doing those six months I spent in the lab, and it would be even cooler to try to get it published so that everyone could read it. So I gave it a go and ended up writing about the method I learned and used in my experiments.

In short, I made use of a variant of the Aequorea victoria green fluorescent protein (GFP), named photoactivatable GFP (PA-GFP), to anatomically map the connectivity between different structures involved in regulating sleep in the brain of the fruit fly. You can follow the link and read the full piece on page 14 of the 23rd issue of Phenotype (I hope you read it, it was made with love!). Unfortunately, you will notice that due to space constraints the figure I prepared ended up being a little bit tiny. But worry not, I upload it here in a larger format so you can enjoy it at full resolution.

photoactivatable GFP tracing
Figure 1. Photoactivatable GFP tracing | A Drosophila brain containing a subset of neurons expressing mCherry (magenta) and a different subset expressing PA-GFP (green). A 3D mask is set comprising the area where we want to check connectivity between the two subsets of neurons (red cube, on the left). Photoactivation is achieved by means of a two-photon microscope that repeatedly scans through the 3D mask. If the two sets of neurons overlap in the space we scan, photoactivated PA-GFP molecules will diffuse and fill those cells with projections within the 3D mask, allowing us to visualise the anatomy of the labelled neurons (green, on the right).

Now that you’ve read it and as a bonus, if you want to get involved with Phenotype and would like to try out as an editor, or if you have something you want to write about or an amazing picture you think can make it to the cover, you can visit http://oxphenotype.wix.com/oxphenotype15 and read about what you can do about it.

If you have any questions or doubts about the article (or if you just want to say hi), all you have to do is post a comment or drop me a line!

 

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