Summer placement is a good way to gain valuable and hands-on work experience in a research lab. It will help you to develop your skills and prepare you for your future career. Placements for the following year are always advertised from November/December period to Late April/early May of the year you will be applying. It’s advisable you apply in the early months to be confident of securing a place. Also, try to apply to multiple places because you may not be lucky enough to get a place if you apply only for one placement. You should also aim at emailing academic staff in the biological research lab at Newcastle University requesting for a placement opportunity over the summer. Newcastle University also offers vacation studentship opportunities to students in their second year. If you are finding it difficult to get a placement or don’t know what to do, please speak to a member of the careers service or to your tutor.
PS: This article was written in 2013 and was specifically targeted at Newcastle University Biomedical Sciences students. I was one of the beneficiaries of the British Society for Cell Biology (BSCB) funds. With the funds, I was able to conduct my research on the topic ”Does ribosomal protein RPL10 influence translational recoding driven by 2A peptides?”
Information on the project I undertook is below.
2013 Summer Placement
This page gives a summary of the summer project I had during the 2013 summer break.
Research Project Topic: ”Does ribosomal protein RPL10 influence translational recoding driven by 2A peptides?”
Research Project Awarded to: Mr Kate, Wisdom Deebeke
Name & Address Of Project Supervisor: Dr Jeremy D. Brown, Institute For Cell & Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University.
Subject Area: Genetics and Biochemistry
Project start & end dates: 17th June to 26th July, 2013
Length of project: 6 weeks
Funding body: British Society For Cell Biology
Summary of Project: A brief summary of the project is outlined below. In-depth steps that were taken to design the experiment are provided here.
2A peptides are autonomous, function in all eukaryotic systems tested, and have become a tool of choice for co-expression of proteins. Insight into the 2A reaction may aid development of expression systems and, importantly, provide information useful in countering viruses that use 2A, a number of which are economically important (e.g. FMDV, human viruses linked to respiratory and diarrheal illness and insect viruses implicated in bee colony collapse disorder).
We have developed reporters to monitor 2A activity in yeast. The first relies on accumulation of red pigments in the absence of Ade2p, a key adenine biosynthesis enzyme. With this reporter, ‘2A-ADE2’, accumulation of Ade2p is a direct consequence of 2A activity, yielding white colonies on plates. With decreasing 2A activity, colonies become pigmented, providing a simple, quantifiable readout. The second reporter, comprises GFP with an internal 2A peptide (‘2A-GFP’), and provides a positive, fluorescence output when 2A is inactive.
Since 2A functions from within the ribosomal exit tunnel, the reaction that it promotes is likely to depend on contact(s) between 2A and the tunnel and the peptidyl transferase centre (PTC). Several ribosomal proteins make close contact with the nascent chain and tRNAs. The focus of this proposal is one of these, RPL10. Recent structural data indicate that it closely contacts the P-site. RPL10 is then a candidate factor that may influence the 2A reaction.
The project will be supported by laboratory funds, and all reagents, strains, plasmids etc. necessary for the project are already in place within the group.
- P.Sharma, et al (2012) 2A peptides provide distinct solutions to driving stop-carry on translational recoding. Nucleic Acids Res. 40: 3143-51.
- V.A.Doronina, et al (2008) Site-specific release of nascent chains from ribosomes at a sense codon. Mol. Cell. Biol. 28: 4227-39.
Plan of Project:
The project plan was carried out on a weekly basis as outlined below, although the plans were not strictly adhered to – due to reasons of experiment not properly working as expected, or that I had to repeat a particular step over days.