Monday, August 19, 2013

Summer Activity

The St. Mike’s Biology Department is a busy place in the summers due to students involved in a variety of research projects. Tommy Manning and Hannah Lynch worked with Professor Dagan Loisel this past summer, and provided the following: Hey readers! This is Tommy and Hannah, two senior Biology majors working with Professor Loisel and studying genetics of the Vermont bobcat population. Our summer research projects are supported by the Hartnett Endowment. This summer, we have been using DNA extraction and PCR techniques to examine genetic diversity of the important mammal immune system MHC gene in the Vermont bobcat population. This gene, when isolated and sequenced, will show us how diverse the bobcat population is and how well suited it will be to fend off a potential pathogenic disease. At the same time, we have been screening the population for the presence of 3 diseases which have been shown in previous studies to cross over to domestic cats. By identifying the presence of these diseases, we can draw conclusions about the overall health of the bobcat population and make predictions about future bobcat health in light of human industrial expansion. As the first research opportunity that either of us has had at SMC, we’ve had a great time working with Prof. Loisel and getting experience in a lab setting.