2013 Participants
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NAME: Amber Campbell

PROJECT TITLE: Effects of phthalates on stem cells

Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is an environmental contaminant, used to make plastics more pliable, that can escape freely into the environment. Many people ingest or inhale DEHP daily through exposure to common consumer goods. Adult neural stem cells are important in normal brain function; there are two well-studied populations of adult neural stem cells, those found in the hippocampus and those in the central nervous system. A population of adult neural stem cells generated in the subventricular zone of the brain constantly makes new cells that travel along the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb. Cultured adult neural stem cells are a good method to study neurogenesis because independent signals affect the cells to differentiate into astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, or mature neurons. The effect of DEHP on adult neural stem cells is unknown and my project will determine how DEHP affects the differentiation and physiology of these cells. Two experiments will be executed to approach this question. In the first experiment, cultured differentiating cells will be exposed to DEHP and then processed for immunocytochemistry (ICC). ICC will determine what proteins the cells are expressing, which will identify what cells they have become; astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, primordial cells, or neurons. Cells are also tested with reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction to verify the ICC results. The second experiment will be new to me and I will use live cells to learn patch clamp electrophysiology, which will determine the cell’s electrical activity and how that might be changed by exposure to DEHP.


To view Amber's website click here