Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects



Document Type



The results of this project will explore a novel approach to lipid metabolism in pregnant women by exploring the relationship between maternal gene expression of genes critical for fat metabolism, protein expression, and maternal and neonatal outcomes. The study will also examine gene expression in lean pregnant women compared to obese pregnant women, shedding light into the adverse pathology of obesity during pregnancy. These findings may uncover a mechanism related to gene-expression that connects unfavorable maternal fat metabolism to inflammation and/or insulin resistance, which may help to uncover future targets for interventions.

The analysis of lipid gene expression requires the isolation of mRNA from blood samples. After isolating the single stranded mRNA from the samples, a more stable copy of the molecule, cDNA, is made and analyzed using reverse transcriptase. The level of gene expression can then be analyzed using Real-Time PCR, RT-PCR. This methodology uses tagged primers for specific genes to detect the amount of mRNA present at the time the sample was collected.

The blood samples that were collected from patients were unfortunately stored improperly, resulting in numerous problems during RNA isolation. Throughout the experimentation process, several problems arose within the procedures and results. In an attempt to mitigate these issues, other analytical procedures were conducted to accurately determine the source of these errors. These procedures concluded that the old and perhaps improperly stored, blood samples resulted in RNA isolations that were inadequate for data analysis.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Rachel Tinius, Ph.D., EP-C


Biochemical Phenomena, Metabolism, and Nutrition | Genetics | Lipids | Maternal and Child Health | Molecular Biology