Research Replay

The School of Graduate and Advanced Studies at Dartmouth has created a new video series, called Research Replay, with the intent of showcasing and distributing the high-caliber research at Dartmouth.

The series aims to capture visually appealing moments in research to showcase the varied studies taking place on campus. Dartmouth’s more than 50 research groups, centers, and institutes encompass topics within four different graduate schools. Researchers from all the groups have contributed significantly in their respective fields by extensive publication and establishing elite scholars. Currently, the video series has covered live microscopy in three various research labs and a mini-series showcasing Superfund research.

Stephanie Getz from Dr. Bryan Luikart’s lab narrated a 3-dimensional movie of neurons growing in the brain. She studies how the neurons develop differently in an autistic brain than in a healthy brain. The video discusses cutting-edge viral methods that infect brain cells and change specific genes to make normal neurons resemble those typically found in autistic patients. Understanding which genetic manipulations are required to cause the physical changes observed in an autistic brain could lead to a treatment that prevents or stops these changes. This research has the potential to treat or even prevent autism.

Dr. Lorna Young from Dr. Henry Higgs lab narrated a video showing the movement of human cells. Her studies highlight the role of FMNL3, a protein involved in filipodia formation, in the directional movement of human cells. Cancer cells grow so quickly that moving to new sites in the body becomes necessary to provide space for the cells to continue dividing. This movement is called metastasis and is the number one cause of death in cancer patients according to the World Health Organization. These studies could lead to a better understanding of the mechanism for metastases and provide a possible therapeutic intervention, thereby decreasing metastasis-related mortality.

Kelly Salmon, Jessica DeSimone, and Sarah Valles of Dr. Duane Compton’s lab describe their examination of the process of cell division in regular cells and cancer cells. The lab’s live microscopy shows how genetic information, DNA, is transferred to daughter cells during division. They explain that in cancer cells, DNA is often unevenly split between the two daughter cells. This uneven split of information creates a perfect storm for cancer cells to gain genetic alterations that increase their severity and malignancy. With their studies, however, it may be possible to understand exactly how this happens and, therefore, ways it can be prevented.

The National Institutes of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) funds a Superfund Research Program (SRP) that aims to support practical research in creating a cleaner and less toxic environment. Dartmouth College Toxic Metals Superfund Research Center (Dartmouth SRC) is one of the groups funded by NIEHS. Dartmouth SRC focuses their studies on human exposure to arsenic and mercury and how these exposures are detrimental to health. The SRP contributed two videos to the Research Replay series, which were made by Sawyer Broadley from the Dartmouth Media Production Group.

Dr. Heng-Hsuan Chu in the lab of Dr. Mary Lou Guerinot studies the mechanism by which rice takes in arsenic. He explains that rice is a primary food source for millions of people in the world yet it incorporates more arsenic than other plants from the environment. To reconcile this increased arsenic concentration, Chu works to understand how the rice transports and stores the arsenic inside the plant. He hopes to create strains of rice with little or no arsenic absorption by genetically modifying the uptake, transport, and storage processes.

Dr. Britton Goodale of Dr. Bruce Stanton’s lab studies the effect of arsenic on lung tissue. One of the most common diseases caused by arsenic exposure is lung disease. Goodale grows human lung cells in vitro and has shown that after they are exposed to arsenic the lung cells look very similar to unexposed lung tissue. However, when the cells are exposed to an additional stress, i.e. bacterial infection, there is a clear impairment in the response. Her studies aim to determine exactly which pathways in the cells are altered in arsenic-exposed tissue to lead to a possible future study of treatments for arsenic-exposed patients.

Participation in the series has been streamlined to decrease stress on participating lab members and increase the number of research contributors. Getting involved simply requires submission of a video or relevant images with an accompanying script describing the visual content. After the script is approved, the representative member records audio of the script. Finally, our team edits the audio and visual portions together and releases the video on our YouTube channel.

Dartmouth’s graduate research is vast and exceptional. It is the aim of this video series to demonstrate the expertise of our student researchers and increase the reach of their studies. If you or someone you know participates in any interesting research at Dartmouth and want to expand your audience, let us know. We hope that these videos will inspire and educate the community about current research topics and we welcome you to subscribe to our YouTube channel in anticipation of the release of our current Research Replay videos and the possibility of more to come.