Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Anagh Sinha L&S Sciences

Understanding the effect of Cnr2 knockout on microglial immune response

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a devastating neuropsychiatric disorder affecting 16 million people in the United States, with an estimated public burden of $210 billion/year. Yet, mechanisms leading to MDD progression remain poorly understood. Persistent activation of microglia, resident immune cells of the brain, has been previously linked to depression. This activation also appears to be linked with changes in expression of cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Targeted activation of CB2 has shown to bias microglia to a pro resolution state, but whether proper CB2 expression is necessary for the normal immune response is unknown. I plan to test if CB2 expression is linked to the natural immune response using a CRISPR deletion of the Cnr2 gene to create a CB2 knockout (Cnr2KO) cell line. Then, I intend to compare the natural immune response to that of the Cnr2KO line. This project will suggest to what degree the microglial immune response needs normal CB2 expression. We can then determine the efficacy of drugs targeting CB2 that alter microglial activity in relation to MDD.

Message To Sponsor

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Banatao Fund for providing me with the opportunity to spend the summer working on a fantastic research project. It has been a great learning experience, and I've grown into a more methodical and creative scientist through the experiences of this summer. Additionally, as I plan to apply to graduate school, the SURF program has given me the confidence to deal with the demands of working in a lab full-time. I also feel a lot more assured in my ability to share my work with a wide range of people thanks to my experience preparing for the SURF conference. None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the Banatao family, and I am truly grateful for it.
Profile image of Anagh Sinha
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Kaoru Saijo
Sponsor: Banatao Fund
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