HRP SU21-7: Research Opportunity with Dr. Stephen Crocker

Project Mentor

Dr. Stephen Crocker
Department of Neuroscience

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description Extracellular vesicles, also referred to as “exosomes” are a primordial form of intercellular communication. We have recently reported that extracellular vesicles isolated from blood plasma when administered to mice with neuroinflammation triggers a shift in their adaptive immune response and a spontaneous clinical disease phenotype more closely resembling human multiple sclerosis (Willis et al. 2019 Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci, 116:10488-493). This project will delve into the characterization of the autoimmune T cells initiated in this model using RNAseq, TCR profiling and flow cytometry techniques.
Project Direction My lab studies neuroinflammation – the nexus of the central nervous system and the immune system – in the context of neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis. We use a variety of technologies (primary cultures, exosomes and human iPS cell lines) and systems (single cell genomics, proteomics, transgenics and in vivo modeling) to explore questions pertaining to the etiology of disease and potential for brain regeneration. Specifically, we are focused on the contribution of glial cells (astrocytes and oligodendrocytes) in their capacity to influence autoimmunity and affect disease.
Mentorship and Supervision Our lab has multiple projects guided by senior level graduate students. Accordingly, summer students will work closely with a graduate student on a specific project to (a) learn the lab techniques and technologies required for that type of project, (b) develop a deeper understanding of the scientific basis for that particular project, and (c) optimize the likelihood of meaningful contribution(s) that could lead to co-authorship on a peer-reviewed publication. All aspects of the project engage the PI for training, supervision and mentoring and will include weekly whole lab meetings, small group project data discussions and one-on-one meetings to review progress, discuss their experiences and even future goals for the project and their burgeoning career.
Student Qualifications Undergraduate courses in biological sciences would be considered an advantage
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 24 to July 30, 2021
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2021, Spring 2022
Academic Year Time Commitment 6 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, February 1, 2021.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, and a brief statement of research interests.