Summer Lab Program Supported by SEP and QB3The students' participation was conceived with help from UCSF's SEP program - the Science and Health Education Partnership between UCSF and the San Francisco Unified School District, designed to help boost student science literacy in the city. The SEP High School Summer Internship program targets students for whom the program will make a critical difference in their lives. The majority of these students are the first in their families to attend college; over 70 percent of the students intend to go onto or have begun graduate school and earn either a PhD, MD, Pharm D, or DDS degree. The UCSF summer lab experience also is supported in part by the NSF synthetic biology and NIH nanomedicine research centers at QB3, directed by Lim. UCSF postdoctoral fellow Sergio Peisajovich, PhD, is scientific director of the program. Faculty members Hana El-Samad, PhD, Tanja Kortemme, PhD, and Chris Voigt, PhD, are also participating in the program. The UCSF teaching assistants who mentored the young students include Lim lab graduate students Angela Won and Reid Williams; David Pincus, a graduate student in the lab of Peter Walter, PhD; Ryan Ritterson, a graduate student from Kortemme's lab; and Lim lab postdocs Noah Helman and Andrew Horwitz.
Lim and Students Explain the Theory Behind the ProjectMost cells, from yeast to humans, have many kinds of compartments or organelles, each isolated from the rest of cell, and each charged with a different task, Lim explains. Energy for the cell is generated in the mitochondria, for example, while lysosomes act as a kind of garbage disposal, degrading unneeded cell material.
Clockwise from left: Eric Meltzer, Palo Alto HS; Sergio Peisajovich, postdoctoral fellow, Lim Lab and scientific director of iGEM team; Eric Chou, Lincoln HS; Michael Chen, UC Berkeley; Alex Ng, Lincoln HS; Jimmy Huang, Lincoln HS. Center: Lauren Jann, Lincoln HS. Missing from photo: Robert Ovadia, Lincoln HS; Nili Sommovilla, UCSF iGEM team coordinator.
Program Participants Impress UCSF Graduate Students, Postdocs and FacultyFor the first few weeks, the students were cautious and asked lots of questions, says Ritterson. "But in four weeks, they became very independent," he adds. Pincus confirms, "I was impressed by how quickly they catch on. Plus they understood a lot of principles going in."
The team is labeling the cell's organelles with fluorescent proteins in order to observe the size, localization, and lifetime of the compartments. By targeting the fluorescent probes to the molecular signatures that uniquely identify each organelle, the group can distinguish between different cellular components. Similar imaging experiments have already been demonstrated, as in the image below in which budding vesicles are labeled in green and internalized vesicles appear in red.Image courtesy of Mark von Zastrow lab, UCSF.
SynBERC (Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center)
California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences
Synthetic Biology: Divining and Designing New Biological "Components"
UCSF Today, August 8, 2006