ResearchSo what is it that I do on a daily basis? Basically, this:
The above is an example of one of my cells. All three of them are the same cell - to make an extremely complicated cellular/molecular story simple, I inject the DNA of the protein I want to study right into the nucleus of these sensory neurons (the nucleus is essentially that empty black space in the middle that you can see in the green picture). The DNA then gets translated into my protein, and is expressed in the cell.
Then I can manipulate various things and look at the results.
The DNA has this tag on it that makes it fluoresce in red under the confocal microscope. The green is a similarly tagged antibody that I use to look at some functions of the protein under various conditions. The last picture is a merge of red and green filters.
This is a gorgeous example of the neurites (cell processes) that grew in culture from one particular experiment:
If you're bored already, I give you free and entirely understood permission to stop reading and/or let your eyes slowly glaze over as I so often do when my supervisor starts talking extensively over my head (which is a daily event).
The protein that I study is an atypical isoform of protein kinase C (PKC). This is a model which partially explains the role my protein may have in memory processes:
That little question mark in the motor neuron is thought to be the role of PKCs.
So yeah, fun stuff isn't it? (Hey, I heard that!)