Stephanie Tjho

Effects of Chronic Jetlag on Immune Function

Circadian rhythms, generated in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the brain, are found in a wide range of organisms, and play an important role in the generation and maintenance of many biological processes. Chronic disruption of the circadian rhythm, as seen in flight attendants and other shift workers, has been found to be correlated with increased cancer rates. My project will examine the impact of jetlag on immune function, and use cell sorting methods to examine whether there is a change in the amount produced or time of production of cells and cytokines that have immunosurveillant properties. Additionally, I will examine the means by which the brain relays information about the circadian rhythm to the periphery, by looking at the interaction between a proposed intermediary protein messenger prokineticin 2 and select immune markers.

Message to Sponsor

This summer I will have an opportunity to conduct an experiment in its entirety, and be extensively involved in the problem solving, trouble shooting and data analysis aspects of research, something that students cannot learn in classes. I will also have a chance to learn new lab techniques, and a great deal about the immune system and cancer development, areas of research that I am interested in. I am looking forward to contributing my own little portion of research to the scientific community, and hope that what I find will benefit someone else in the future.
  • Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
  • Mentor: Lance Kriegsfeld, Psychology