News

October 12, 2016 – Our crowdfunding campaign has launched!!

With your help, we can continue to offer an authentic research experience to our students!

Each semester of The Python Project, up to 20 CU Boulder undergraduate students design experiments to examine the molecular mechanisms of organ growth in the Burmese python. Using the Burmese python as a model organism, students in The Python Project study genes that are thought to be responsible for the python’s extreme physiology and their possible relevance to human diseases like heart disease and liver cirrhosis.

A few of our critical pieces of equipment are now broken, leaving our students to lose valuable data while transporting their work to machines three floors above and waiting up to 45 minutes to use. This is not the research experience we seek to offer through The Python Project, and hope to improve the quality of the equipment before the end of Fall 2016 semester.

The outcomes of the project over the past six years have been overwhelmingly positive. Data generated by the students are not only reproducible in the sponsor laboratory, but have results in a peer-reviewed publication, on which all 16 students from Spring 2014 are authors.

The Python Project is raising money to replace our outdated and broken research equipment. Our campaign goal is approximately $11,500, which would allow us to obtain laboratory equipment necessary to continue our research in an efficient and competitive manner. We hope you’ll consider supporting our students in this unique opportunity!

How can you help?

In order to continue The Python Project, we must replace and upgrade equipment critical to our research. Your help and support will benefit CU Boulder research students every year for years to come. The Python Project serves up to 40 students per year so your gift could reach student in the next ten years!

  • Donate any amount to our campaign. Even the smallest amount helps!
  • Share our campaign page with your social and professional networks. Crowdfunding is a powerful way of raising funds through communicating with connections.

*Any remaining funds will be used to support the research supplies in coming semesters.

http://www.colorado.edu/crowdfunding/PythonProject

April 30, 2016 – Students in The Python Project presented their data to the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Department at University of Colorado at Boulder.  Research focused on the molecular mechanisms mediating cholesterol homeostasis in the Burmese python after feeding.  Lipids in the serum of the python increase to levels that would be toxic to humans. One mechanism by which the python manages this extreme concentration of lipids is conversion to cholesterol and bile acids in the liver for excretion through the intestines.  Despite a technically challenging semester, students observed that many genes involved in lipid import, bile acid synthesis, and bile export were increased in the python liver at hypothesized times points, suggesting that bile acid pathways are involved in reducing lipid concentrations in the serum.  These data also suggest that the python could be a valuable tool for studying these mechanisms in the context of identifying potential therapeutics for people who are morbidly obese with high serum lipids and secondary diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.  Posters were presented individually, and a Mindomo concept map was presented as a class.  A link to the Mindomo concept map presentation can be found below:

https://www.mindomo.com/mindmap/spring-2016-concept-map-1f8d3d2c995942c1b80fde1025da160f

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