Checking I haven’t got my cells mixed up…

Did you know as many as 30% of the cells in labs could be misidentified? And what a nightmare it would be to find out years of your work are just completely wrong because you got your skin cells mixed up with your brain cells… So to avoid that catastrophe, I took some time to Read More …

Optimising seeding of normal and FOP cells for a later assay – prettier than expected

Further down the line I want to be able to test the activation of the BMP signalling pathway downstream of the ALK2 receptor. For this I plan to use the alkaline phosphatase gene as a readout – it’s a well known gene activated downstream of BMP signalling so a lot of easy to use assays Read More …

Screening ACVR1 inhibitors on mutant and non-mutant ACVR1 DIPG cells – effectiveness may vary

Hi there! The last month of my life was taken over by making sure my PhD first year report was beautifully polished, but I have returned with results of a small compound screen: These are all compounds that Jong Fu has already tested with his assays so we know they effectively inhibit ACVR1, but I Read More …

Presenting a poster at the annual Medical Sciences Division DPhil Day

Every summer my department holds a special mini-conference for the DPhil (aka PhD) students so that we can get to know each other and practice presenting our research. This year I took along a poster outlining my own project – Understanding the pathogenic mechanism of ACVR1 mutations in Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma – and presented Read More …

Optimising an assay to detect alkaline phosphatase activity in C2C12 cells

I don’t just want to check whether the compounds I’m testing kill DIPG cells, I want to check that they’re doing this by altering BMP signalling too. However, I can’t do this with the DIPG cells, because if a compound does work, and kill them, there’ll be no cell left to actually measure the amount Read More …

Attending the first ever CRUK London Brain Tumour Conference

Hello there! This week I won’t be filling you in on my latest experiment, because instead I spent three days at the first ever Cancer Research UK Brain Tumour Conference held in the Royal Society of Medicine in London! (Also the biggest conference I’ve been to so far). The conference gathered over 30 great speakers Read More …

Making single DIPG spheres

It’s usually a good idea to have more than one trick up your sleeve… So with that in mind, I’ve started developing another viability assay for my DIPG cell lines. The first assay relied on convincing a cell line that naturally grows as floating spheres to grow stuck down on the bottom of plastic wells, Read More …

Developing an assay of viability in DIPG cell lines

Over the past few weeks I’ve been perfecting a method for screening a small set of therapeutic compounds on DIPG cell lines. Before starting I made sure to discuss the techniques used in other groups to make sure that I design an assay that is comparable to theirs, although I may make my own changes Read More …

Recording the growth of a DIPG cell line

Repeatability is a cornerstone of science, but cells behaviour can change quite significantly if you aren’t careful when looking after them. To ensure that I have the right number of DIPG cells to complete an important experiment, and that they’re all growing healthily, I want to record how fast they grow, and at what density Read More …