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The 2017 Seventeenth Annual UMM Undergraduate Research Symposium (URS) celebrates student scholarly achievement and creative activities. Students from all disciplines participate in the URS. Types of presentations include posters, oral presentations, and short or abbreviated theatrical, dance, or musical performances. 

Presentations are accompanied by discussions and multimedia.


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Saturday, April 22 • 10:00am - 12:00pm
Melanocyte Development and Migration

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Zebrafish contain pigment cells, called melanocytes, that are similar to those in human pigment cells. Understanding how these cells behave in developing embryonic zebrafish can shed light on their development and behavior, and allow us to understand how melanocytes behave in humans. Our work visualized melanocyte development through the use of time lapse video and photographs taken with a microscope. Melanocytes are darkly pigmented, which let us observe their movement without the use of dyes. Our research has potential to expand on the current knowledge on melanocyte development. Pigmentation in the embryonic stages is not well documented as compared to later developmental stages. We have been studying the Epithelial to Mesenchymal Transition (EMT) in embryonic zebrafish because the animals are transparent and the pigment cells are easily seen.. EMT is the process in which cells separate from layered sheets, or epithelia, of tissue to disperse throughout the body as mesenchyme, a kind of loose aggregate of cells in a gelatinous matrix. As well as documenting EMT, our study also documented rapid rates of movement in early embryonic stages that eventually slow as cells stop and coalesce into patches to form stripes. One thing we have determined is that cell movements begin before pigment production, so we are currently pursuing methods to label younger cells with fluorescent dyes. By studying these rates of melanocyte movement as they undergo EMT has led to a better understanding of how normal development occurs, as well as behaviors in wound healing of living tissue, and cancer cell progression,when cancer cells metastasize and leave an original tumor to spread.


Saturday April 22, 2017 10:00am - 12:00pm
Student Center, Oyate Hall 600 E 4th St., Morris MN 56267