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Lan Jiang publishes a video in the Journal of Visualized Experiments

Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Lan Jiang publishes a video in the Journal of Visualized Experiments
Most scientific research is communicated through the written word. For example, the journal article is the most common way to report new findings. However, the internet is changing the way scientists publish. CBR member and Assistant Professor Lan Jiang, of the Department of Biological Sciences, recently published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), a video journal. The unique feature of JoVE is that authors publish videos that show how experiments are performed. The reader sees what is done, as if they were there in the lab looking over the author’s shoulder.

The goal of Jiang's study is to understand the development of branched tubular networks that are common in many organisms, such as airways in the lung or blood vessels. A defect in tube formation can cause many important human diseases, and therefore understanding how these networks form is crucial. However, as often the case when studying fundamental biology, the key to uncovering basic mechanisms is to use a simple model system. The fruit fly, Drosophila, provides such a system. In fact, the Berkeley Drosophila Genome Project provides extensive information about the Drosophila genome.

Lan and her team use a genetic technique called RNA interference (RNAi) to block specific genes in Drosophila. They inject double stranded RNA (dsRNA) which interacts and partially blocks the normal expression of individual genes. The particular gene they block expresses a protein responsible for fusion of different branches of the Drosophila tracheal network, resulting in a defect in the organ development.

One delightful feature of JoVE videos is that you get to meet the members of Jiang’s team, including graduate students Ekaterini Iordanou and Rachana Chandran, and undergraduate Nicholas Blackstone.

Click on and watch the video.