The traditional view of a red blood cell is based on the mammalian system where RBCs have lost their nucleus and can serve few other functions than O2/CO2 exchange. In contrast, fish, reptiles and birds have nucleated red blood cells, providing the potential to respond to external stimuli by gene expression and undergo functional changes/differentiation. In the last decade, fish red blood cells have been further characterized as pluripotent cells with many additional functions, including responsiveness to infection and stress. This ability give them an important role in controlling disease.
This master project belongs to the Work package ACT in the RED FLAG project. The task of the student is to isolate and culture red blood cells from Atlantic salmon, perform cell stimulation in culture, and monitor responses using RT-qPCR panels and functional assays, including kits for assessment of intracellular signalling intermediates and enzyme activity.
RED FLAG is a project involving three part time researchers, a PhD student, and two part time ingeneers at NVI together with collaboration partners at NMBU (Vet school), in Spain and in Canada. The project leader and partners have long experience in the field, have supervised several master students, and both the practical and theoretical supervison will be well covered. The project is suitable for a biotechnology master student planning for a 60p project in 2022.