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Optimizing protein precipitation

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Optimizing protein precipitation methods in human nail analysis.

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Project Description:

Biological markers (also referred to as biomarkers) are measurable substances in an organism that can indicate the presence of or risk for stress and/or disease (Strimbu & Tavel, 2010). In humans, the immune system can produce and excrete cytokine and chemokine molecules from cells which are responsible for regulating the body’s inflammatory response, indicative of an immune response to disease. While inflammation is a means the body uses to fight off what it identifies as foreign, it is only beneficial for short periods of time. Chronic, long-term inflammation can be detrimental to healthy cells and organisms. Obtaining biomarkers to assess chronic disease or illness is often invasive, requiring either blood draws or tissue extraction. Several non-invasive strategies also exist which include skin debris, ear wax, hair follicles, and nail clippings. However, little research has been done using nails as a means to collect immune biomarkers. The Rivera lab plans to use the samples collected to develop a novel baseline scale of biomarker levels in a general sample of Hope College students, faculty and staff. Additionally, we plan to separate and compare samples from males and females, giving us the ability to describe sex differences in the amounts of immune protein we extract.

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