Undergraduate IMAGE Academic Research Program (IARP)
TITLE: Protease involvement in rheumatoid arthritis
Project Description: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a debilitating disease that is initiated by attack of immune cells on healthy body cells within joints, and is thus considered an autoimmune disease. Accumulating evidence has suggested that rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and other self-destructive immune disorders may be caused by alterations in enzymes that degrade proteins (proteases). We hypothesize that altered levels of a number of proteases implicated in RA contribute to the disorder by various mechanisms. We hypothesize that in diseased joints, these enzymes are either reduced in amounts or activities, elevated in amounts or activities, or incorrectly localized to the various areas of the tissue. Thus, it is critical to examine exactly where these enzymes are produced in normal joints and tissues and also whether the production or location of the enzymes is altered in the rheumatoid arthritis joint.
The proposed experiments will involve learning aspects of immunohistochemistry, protein chemistry, anatomy, histology, and cell biology, as well as fluorescent and standard microscopy. This project will be of interest to those interested in medicine, nursing, physiology, and other various allied health professions.