“The assistantship has helped me and my team (undergraduate students Jermarcus Lewis and Ranjak Joshi) to make significant scientific process towards my graduate work” said graduate student Ethan Kub.
I was able to quantify ceramide levels in the U87 cells, and even find the presence of lesser reported ceramides. During that process, I trained Jermacus and Ranjak to maintain a mammalian cell culture and perform lipid extractions. We transitioned to the lipid extraction of animal tissues and were able to find distinct differences in the level of ceramides between tissues. In that process, I taught Jermarcus and Ranjak about mass spectrometry and how to operate the mass spectrometers in our analytical facility (SAILARC). Furthermore, we performed cryosectioning of tissues for histology and imaging mass spectrometry. During this process we focused on improving the MS signal of ceramides. Finally, we determined the cellular effects of carmofur, an ASAH1 inhibitor, using an MTT assay. Jermarcus said: “The experience as a member of Dr. Mirza’s lab has given me a renewed interest in the field of chemistry so much so that I conducted literature review on mass spectrometry and presented on the topic in BSC 490 Molecular Genetics.” Ranjak mentioned:” Prior to starting this lab, I had very limited knowledge about mass spectrometry and research in general. I also learned how to culture cells, make media, count cells using a hemocytometer, freeze cells, and many other procedures.”