HRP SU23-11: Research Opportunity with Dr. Anne Delany

Project Mentor

Dr. Anne Delany
Department of Medicine, Center for Molecular Oncology

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description The goal of this summer project is to identify novel mRNA targets for microRNAs (miRNAs, small noncoding RNAs that negatively regulate gene expression). Students will learn key aspects of miRNA and bone cell biology. Regarding technical skills, students will learn to: clone specific DNA fragments from mouse genomic DNA into a plasmid vector, transform bacteria, isolate plasmid DNA, perform diagnostic restriction endonuclease analysis, culture and transfect mouse cell lines, perform luciferase assays, and critically analyze data. Students may learn to isolate RNA and perform qRT-PCR.
Project Direction Identifying novel mRNA targets for specific microRNAs is integral to our understanding of how microRNAs regulate the differentiation and function of bone-forming osteoblasts and bone-resorbing osteoclasts. Future work could involve analyzing the expression of validated miRNA targets in bone samples from mice in which specific microRNAs are repressed.
Mentorship and Supervision
Supervision: Students will be supervised by me, my PhD student, and my full-time research assistant. The theory behind each technique will be discussed first. Then, the students will be given a protocol, and will perform each technique with an experienced lab member, until there is confidence (on everyone’s part) that the student can perform the technique independently. The importance of scientific integrity and accuracy is stressed; critical thinking is fostered. Progress will be monitored by informal presentations at our weekly lab meeting. To learn more about the skeletal biology field, lab members participate in our small, informal journal club.
Mentoring: To tailor mentoring to the needs of each student, I meet with students to determine their interests and anticipated career trajectory. Mentoring activities are focused on needs of individual students, to help them achieve their goals. I have an “open door” policy and encourage students to ask questions. Moreover, students are encouraged to take part in seminar series and career presentations ongoing during the summer. Lastly, I am open to a long-term commitment to each student, which includes providing letters of recommendation for scholarships, awards, and application packages.
Student Qualifications Some upper-level biology courses and a motivation to learn.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: M-F, 9am-5pm
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 6-9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a cover letter, a resume or CV, science GPA, and a brief statement of research interests. References should be available upon request.