Supervisor's Name: Dr. Peter Metrakos
Supervisor's Email: peter.metrakos [at] muhc.mcgill.ca
Supervisor's Phone: 5148431600
Supervisor's department: Anatomy and Cell Biology
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: The effects of different cryopreservation methods on DNA, RNA and protein in Biobanking
Project description (50-100 words suggested):Translational research is dependent of large series of cases including high quality samples and their associated data. An easier access to these samples for the scientific community is considered as the main bottleneck for research for health, and biobanks are the most adequate site to try to resolve this issue. Biobanking is the collection, storage, and processing of human tissue and/or other biological specimens (biospecimens), often combined with medical and personal information. We need up-to-date equipment that allows us to efficiently preserve specimens in a way that they are available and accessible to researchers in the format that they require. The value of the BioBank depends on the quality of the samples.For diagnostic purposes, tissue samples are generally treated in two ways. Almost all specimens are formalin fixed and paraffin embedded (FFPE). This procedure is routinely used for hematoxylin staining and immunohistochemical analysis of tissue sections cut from paraffin blocks. For rapid intra-operative sections, tissue samples are generally directly placed onto a metal chuck provided with optimal cutting temperature (OCT) compound and frozen either using solid carbon dioxide or the cooling chamber of a cryostat . Slow freezing of tissues produces artifacts due to aggregation of water molecules into ice crystals, which is significantly reduced with liquid nitrogen. In addition, liquid nitrogen evaporates rapidly particularly in small containers, which consequently have to be refilled several times a day.The purpose of this project is to compare three different methods of cryopreservation utilized for diagnostics, research, and biobanking by examining the integrity of RNA, DNA, protein, and morphology by immunohistochemistry preserved by (1) snap-freezing in liquid nitrogen, (2) embedding in OCT and immersion in isopentane pre-cooled to -45 degrees C, or (3) -80 degrees C. The majority of samples have already been collected and some analysis performed by a previous student. Since this project is very long and requires a one year wait period all the samples are ready for analysis.
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): Final grade shall be based on an evaluation of laboratory (or equivalent) performance (40%), a final written report (50%), and an oral presentation (10%) by the supervisor.
Project status: This project is taken.
How students can apply / Next steps: After all of the parts of this application forms are completed and the hard copy is signed by the professor and the student, bring the application form and a copy of your unofficial transcript to the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology (Strathcona Anatomy & Dentistry Building) during office hours.
Ethics, safety, and training: Supervisors are responsible for the ethics and safety compliance of undergraduate students. This project involves: Human subjects.