Developing a Method for the Phenotypic Preservation of Nucleus Pulposus Cells for Autologous Cell Implantation - ANAT 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

INSTRUCTIONS - PROFESSORS: Please print and review this form. Complete or correct the sections, as applicable, from "Supervisor's Name" to "Ethics, safety, and training". Please sign and date near the bottom ("Supervisor's signature").

INSTRUCTIONS - STUDENTS: You may receive this form by email, or you may simply print this webpage. Either way, print and review this form. Complete or correct the sections, from "Student's Name" to "Student's Level", and sign ("Student signature"). Ask your supervisor to sign her/his section near the bottom. Take it to the department* corresponding to the course number in Section A; this may or may not be your own department. (* EXCEPTIONS: For NSCI 396 and COGS 396, please bring it to the Interdisciplinary Programs Adviser in Dawson Hall.) Do not register for a '396' course on Minerva until you receive departmental permission. Have a discussion with your supervisor about time/work expectations, keeping in mind that this is a 3-credit course (roughly, 10 hours per week for 12 weeks). Remember that a '396' course is an elective.

INSTRUCTIONS - DEPARTMENTS: After the unit chair/director/designate approves (or not) this project, please notify student. If approved, please give student permission to register on Minerva, and send a copy of this form (with signatures) to the Office for Undergraduate Research in Science (either fax, or internal mail to Dawson Hall 408-A, or PDF scan + email).

QUESTIONS OR FEEDBACK? Contact the Office for Undergraduate Research in Science.

Supervisor's Name: Lisbet Haglund

Supervisor's Email: lisbet.haglund [at]

Supervisor's Phone:

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Experimental surgery

Course number: ANAT 396 (Anatomy and Cell Biology)

Term: Winter 2013-2014

Project start date: Monday, January 6, 2014

Project end date: Friday, April 11, 2014

Project title: Developing a Method for the Phenotypic Preservation of Nucleus Pulposus Cells for Autologous Cell Implantation

Project description (50-100 words suggested): The process of autologous cells implantation, which is currently investigated for its potential therapeutic effects on Disk Degenerative Disease (DDD), involves the culture of primary cells from a patients Nucleus Pulposus (NP) tissue. The growth surfaces currently used for these cultures are silicon covered plastic plates treated with collagen type I. However, it has been observed that NP cells tend to dedifferentiate and revert to a more fibrotic phenotype when grown in these types of static culture environments. This is characterised by (but not limited to) a decrease in SOX-9, collagen type II, aggrecan, Chondroadherin (CHAD) and Glucoseaminoglycan (GAG) production and an increase in collagen type I production. This is a hindrance to the efficiency of the procedure, since these cell products are critical for the biomechanical functionality of the intervertebral disc. We hypothesized that this was due to a disruption of the NP cells’ environment during the passaging process from one plate to another. We attempted to address this issue by cultivating primary NP cells (from bovine samples) on an expanding culture medium, which will reduce the need to disrupt cell colonies and therefore preserve their phenotypic characteristics. RNA will be extracted from the freshly isolated bovine NP cells and at different time intervals during culture of NP cells on silicon coated plates and on an expanding culture medium. These samples will then be assessed for expression of the aforementioned phenotypic criteria. Media and RNA samples will be extracted for analysis through DMMB (for net GAG content) and Q-PCR (for gene expression of collagen type I and II, aggrecan, CHAD and SOX-9). RNA isolated from the freshly isolated NP cells will provide a baseline level of gene expression, to which samples from both culture methods will be compared to assess phenotypic preservation.

Prerequisite: 1 term completed at McGill + CGPA of 3.0 or higher; or permission of instructor.

Grading scheme (The final report must be worth at least 50% of final grade): The results will be presented in a final paper which will count for 50% of the final course mark. The remaining 50% will be based on participation as assessed by the supervisor.

Project status: This project is taken. The professor has no more '396' projects this term.

Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: biohazardous substances, handling chemicals.

Student's Name:

Student's McGill ID:

Student's McGill Email:

Student's Phone:

Student's Program:

Student's Level (U0 / U1 / U2 / U3):

Student's signature - I certify that this course is with a different supervisor and on a different topic than any previous '396' course I have taken. I have not applied for another '396' course in this term:

Supervisor's signature - I give my permission for the student identified above to register for this project under my supervision:


Unit chair/director/designate's name:

Unit chair/director/designate's signature - I certify that this project conforms to departmental requirements for 396 courses: