During the last year, I worked at the Department of Nematology within the C. elegans group, lead by Jan Kammenga, for the GRAPPLE project. Under the supervision of Basten Snoek, I looked at the natural variation (recombinant inbred lines, RILs) within C. elegans to find stress related regulatory genomic regions (eQTLs).
Here, we used heat as the main stressor to induce differential expression. Using high-throughput technologies such as microarrays, we revealed over a hundred genome-wide expression profiles of C. elegans RILs. And this appeared to be far from the end of the project. Actually, the actual research just started by then.
After months of data analysis, and what feels like deep-sea diving into an unknown sea of data, we found several regulatory loci related to stress. As the research is still ongoing, these regulatory loci will be used to point out the transcriptional directions to build an accurate genetic hierarchy, and thus a transcriptional pathway. This gives us a detailed insight in the transcriptional regulation of genes and even signalling pathways.
Overall, the time at the Department of Nematology was an unforgettable experience. I learned a lot about the techniques used and the analysis that came with it. Therefore, it won’t be a big problem at all to continue working here for the upcoming 6 months.