Light Dependent Muscle Regeneration in Females: Introduction

Hi everyone! My name is Juliana Bergmann and I am a member of the Health Sciences Research Fellowship! I’m very excited to tell you all about my research, so let’s get started. I’m a part of the wonderful Ambrosio Lab, run by PI Fabrisia Ambrosio and I am being mentored by MD/PhD student Gabby Gilmer. In the past two semesters, we have been running experiments on male mice to see if muscle cells exposed to light had increased regeneration. With this project, we were able to determine some general guidelines for the intensity, duration, wavelength of light that produced optimal regeneration in vitro. Some markers we have been staining for involve Ki67 (cell proliferation), Caspase3 (cell death), and F-actin (cell migration). The purposes of these stains is to try to learn more about the mechanism behind any regeneration we see. We scratch each well with a pipette tip to mimic an “injury” to the cells so we can analyze any effects light may have on injury healing of muscle cells. However, for this summer, Gabby and I will be conducting a sort of sister experiment to this one using female mice. Since we already have relatively well-established parameters for the male mice, we will be able to directly see any sex-based differences if these parameters or other data change. Additionally, we will be conducting vaginal cytology on all of our mice to determine what phase of menopause they’re in to see if this plays a role in muscle regeneration due to light as well. Sex is an extremely important factor often ignored in many research studies, and we aim to highlight it with this project. There is evidence of differences of muscle fiber types and amounts between sexes, so it is imperative that we include female mice in order to properly apply our research to a larger group.

My professional goals are ideally to go to medical school in the near future. I plan on taking a gap year after my senior year to work in a hospital, volunteer, and take the MCAT. The area of medicine that interests me the most is orthopedics/sports medicine (I’m a big soccer fan!). This research in muscle regeneration is right up my alley! I think the HSRF will help me in accomplishing these goals by providing me with a tight-knit community of student scholars that will broaden my horizons by learning about other areas of research in health science. Furthermore, learning about specifics of research will ensure that I feel confident conducting the best research I can, while keeping important factors like ethics at the forefront of my mind.

For a little about me, I am a Biology major on the Pre-Med track with minors in Chemistry and Exercise Science and a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine. Something fun about me is that I live with two dogs, a pomsky named Freya that my boyfriend owns and a lovable lab/hound mix I just rescued named Melli! Melli means “honey” in Greek and I am (slowly) training her to be a service dog!

Here is a recent picture of me and my boyfriend!
Here’s a picture of me and my dog Melli!

Leave a Reply