Summer Research

* Student(s): Amit Desai
Advisor: Stephen Festin

Title: Bringing Computational Analysis of Gene Expression of Patients with AIS into the Classroom


Introduced in the mid-1990's microarrays now make up the foundation of bioinformatics research. Microarrays consist of thousands of nucleic acid probes that are chemically attached to microchips (see Figure 1). Using microarrays, researchers can visualize the genetic differences between normal and diseased individuals by comparing the binding patterns of their cDNAs to the nucleic probes on the microchip. A computer program is then used to filter out and display only the disparate genes between the normal and diseased individuals.

Our goal is to create a laboratory experiment that professors can use to teach their undergraduate students how to analyze microarray data. We are using microarray data obtained from and experiment conducted by Paul Martin Holterhus and colleagues. The data corresponds to a study of differences in gene expression between cells from normal males versus cells from females with Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). This latter group of individuals while phenotypically female have an X and Y chromosome. We chose this experiment because the disease is so unusual that it will capture the student's attention. We are importing the data into GeneSpring, a program developed by Silicon Genetics. GeneSpring is a microarray analysis program that has a relatively intuitive interface and provides advanced statistical tools, gene ontology analysis, and data clustering and visual filtering capabilities. GeneSpring will analyze the gene expressions of both normal individuals and individuals with AIS and find the genes that are dissimilar between the two groups.

Student stipend support provided by a grant from the Dean's Summer Research Fund.