Campus News

This Week in Photos: Alzheimer's Research

August 5, 2021

Yvonne Gay

A science student pours liquid from a flask into an apparatus.
Students at work in Monica Mariani’s neuroscience lab.
Photo credit: Yvonne Gay

A picture of a student transferring an opaque substance into a gel box in a neuroscience lab serves as inspiration for this week’s photo series.

Alzheimer’s disease research is being performed in Visiting Assistant Professor Monica Mariani’s neuroscience lab. The goal is to gain a better understanding of the immune response to Alzheimer's in order to discover novel avenues of treatment to improve the disease’s pathology. On this particular day, neuroscience major Elly Ragone ’23 and neuroscience and engineering double-major Shawn Ho ’24 are performing PCR and DNA electrophoresis. 

After filling the wells of a gel box with DNA and gel red the rig is hooked up to a voltage system. The group watches for nearly thirty minutes as DNA particles pass through an electric field. Moments later, the rig is removed from its power source and the group takes a short walk down the hall to use a gel documentation system in Associate Professor of Neuroscience Tracie Paine’s laboratory. Today’s experiment is deemed a success after it is determined which DNA samples had the genes for Alzheimer's disease and which did not. As research progresses, the the group determines if cannabidiol oil (CBD) can suppress immune cell inflammation in the brain and reduce Alzheimer's plaques.

A student and teacher stand in front of a long table in a lab.
Shawn Ho ’25 with Visiting Assistant Professor Monica Mariani. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A student uses a pipette to place liquid into a rig.
Elly Ragone ’24 uses a pipette to fill the wells of a gel box. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A student looks at liquid as it reacts to electricity in an apparatus
Ho watches as DNA passes through an electric field. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A person wearing a glove places a gel-like substance on a petri dish.
Mariani removes agarose gel with DNA and gel red from the gel box holder and places it on a petri dish. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
A jello-like substance is placed in a machine.
The experiment is placed in a gel documentation system. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay
Three people hold up their arms in victory.
The group reacts to the experiment’s success. Photo credit: Yvonne Gay


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