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Jada’s lab (…and other…) shenanigans

My name is Jada English. I’m a junior from Houston, TX and a student at Xavier University of Louisiana. At UC Davis, I work in the Juliano lab where the animal Hydra vulgaris are the main focus. Hydra are animals that can easily regenerate, which means that if their heads or feet are severed, they can easily regrow that body part and continue living their normal lives. The exact mechanisms of regeneration are not quite understood.

My task this summer involved two related projects. First, I did what is called a knockdown experiment. In this experiment, I sever the foot of the hydra, then I inject SiRNA’s from different transcription factors, and finally, I give the hydra a low voltage electrical shock in hopes that the hydra will take up the RNA’s to create transgenic hydra. Ultimately we want to be able to determine which genes are required for proper regeneration. Thus, my second experiment involves 5 different genes: Jun, Fos, CEBP, CR3L and XPB1. With these 5 genes we hope to successfully clone each to further understand how regeneration is performed.

Besides lab shenanigans, I have been able to experience many cool aspects of Northern California.

  • On one Tuesday, we visited the Bodega Marine Lab where I learned about an endangered (and apparently, very delicious) species called white abalone. We took a hike through the preserve and saw some amazing views of the coast.
  • I’ve gone to the Davis Farmer’s Market, which has the best blackberries ever.
  • I spent a Saturday at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom where I rode every rollercoaster there and saw an amazing dolphin show. A few of us traveled up to Sacramento and went to the California State Fair. There, I ate the biggest turkey leg of my life and lost at every game attempted.
  • Perhaps my favorite adventure was going to San Francisco. There I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge, visited Fisherman’s Wharf and went to Chinatown. When the sun began to set, we drove through Golden Gate Park until we reached the beach and admired the view from the sand.

Besides these adventures, I enjoy spending time with my fellow program mates whether it be riding our bikes or just watching TV in the Kearney Hall lobby.