Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"CPIP: Building a testing pipeline for nutriepigenomics and prevention of breast cancer"

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Full-Year 2014 - CPIP
Research area(s):
biology and nutrition
Project Description:
There is increasing evidence that foods and nutrients impact the control of gene expression by acting on epigenetic mechanisms (e.g., DNA meythylation, histone modifications). This gene-environment interaction is particularly important to modify the risk of certain chronic diseases with cancer at the forefront. The goals of this project are to design a platform based on three-dimensional cell culture to test the epigenetic impact of foods on the phenotypically normal breast epithelium and to determine whether foods with epigenetic impact might control tissue polarity, an architectural marker of breast cancer risk.
Expected Student Contributions:
The student will research the information on the foods and herbs to be tested (for instance Yerba mate, different mushroom varieties) and help set up the experiments to assess their effect on DNA methylation and histone modifications involved in the apical polarity control and the structure of the apical cell pole. S/He will run experiments based on cell culture, western blot analysis, RT-PCR and immunostaining. The ultimate goal is to design a process by which many foods and nutrients could be tested to identify their potential preventive role in breast cancer. This process should help set up prevention strategies to decrease breast cancer risk.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
Same as for DURI internship. The student has to have basic knowledge either in nutrition or in biology.
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Lelievre, Sophie
basic medical sciences

Student Supervisor

Sophie Lelievre
Associate Professor

Cooperating Faculty

Barbara Stefanska
Nutrition Science/HHS