Current Students: Student Profiles

Student Profiles: Courtney Kane, C'2014

This summer, biology major Courtney Kane, C'2014, did something pretty remarkable: She discovered a chemical reaction involving the brain of a fruit fly. Kane accomplished this feat as a biology intern in the laboratory at Wake Forest University. As the only undergraduate biology student representing Spelman College, Kane worked with a team of graduate students from Wake Forest and garnered praise from the laboratory team when she presented her findings at the end of the program.

Kane studied the DH44-Binding Protein in Drosophila, which is homologous to human CRF. Her objective was to map the expression of the DH44-Binding Protein in the Drosophila brain, to find out where exactly it was being produced. Using genetically manipulated fruit flies, Kane used genetic methods to produce offspring with a specific genotype, and then dissected the tiny brains from larval and adult fruit flies, and put them through an antibody staining process, where she injected various antibodies into the brains so that certain proteins would florescence under the confocal microscope.

The images from the microscope showed overlapping of fluorescent proteins and antibody staining. This was the anticipated result! These results indicated the expression patterns within the Drosophila brain where the DH44-Binding Protein may be produced. This project has never been done before, and Kane was so excited to have contributed new knowledge to the expression of the DH44-Binding Protein.

“This laboratory experience has broadened my exposure to biology beyond the medical aspect. I definitely developed more patience, confidence, and a larger passion for science. I enjoyed the flexibility of working long hours on my own schedule during the night and/or day. I also enjoyed working along side of Ph.D students in the laboratory. I had opportunity to present my findings at the end of the program. With all of the knowledge and skills I have gained from this experience, I am prepared for my genetics class that I am enrolled in this semester, and I am excited to explore and pursue more research. After graduating from Spelman College, this experience has inspired me to consider more research opportunities before attending medical school.”

At Spelman College, Kane serves as a Spelman College Ambassador, the 2013-2014 Secretary of Alpha Beta Chapter of Beta Kappa Chi National Scientific Honor Society, and the 2013-2014 SGA Representative for the Circle-K International Community Service Organization.

She is also a member of Sigma Alpha Pi Chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and the SpelmanCollege Health Careers Program.                                      

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