Does high dietary folate have a negative impact on brain function? - HGEN 396 Undergraduate Research Project Application Form

Supervisor's Name: Rima Rozen

Supervisor's Email: rima.rozen [at]

Supervisor's Phone: 514-412-4400 ext. 23839

Supervisor's Website:

Supervisor's department: Human Genetics

Course number: HGEN 396 (Human Genetics)

Term: Fall 2014-2015

Project start date: Sept 2 2014

Project end date: Dec 4 2014

Project title: Does high dietary folate have a negative impact on brain function?

Project description (50-100 words suggested): Genetic polymorphisms in enzymes of folate metabolism and low dietary folate can increase the risk for birth defects, liver disease and other common disorders. The nervous system is known to be sensitive to genetic variants in the folate pathway and to low dietary folate, but the impact of too much folate has not been extensively examined. Based on preliminary data, we suggest that excess folate can be harmful by altering gene expression and inhibiting important enzymes in folate metabolism. We have collected tissues from mice with genetic deficiency of an important enzyme in the folate pathway (MTHFR), that were fed high folate diets. Our goal is to examine gene expression and relevant gene products that are critical to brain methyl metabolism, since folates provide the methyl groups for methylation reactions in all tissues. This project will involve isolation of RNA and qRT-PCR, isolation of crude protein extracts for Western blotting and relevant statistical analyses. This work has public health impact since there is increased intake of folate in North America due to food fortification and use of vitamin supplements.

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. Details of the evaluation scheme will be provided by HGEN to supervisors and applicants.

Project status: This project is open to applicant.

How students can apply / Next steps: For HGEN: 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 Human Genetics (to the attention of Dr. Patricia N. Tonin, Stewart Biology Building N5.13) during office hours.

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