Studentship Awardee 2022: Helene Arnold

Hi, my name is Helene Arnold. I am a 4th year neuroscience undergraduate student at Trinity College. I completed a 6-week AIMS-RN internship in Dr. Claire McCoy’s lab within RCSI’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, under the supervision of Conor Duffy.

During this time, my project’s aim was to identify relationships between microRNA and their targets involved in neuroinflammation and MS. Understanding how microRNA and their targets interact is important to construct new therapeutics that reverse or combat the inflammation characteristic of MS.

I looked at how microRNAs can impact microglial pro- or anti-inflammatory states, which contribute to disease progression or recovery, respectively. To achieve this, microglia cells were cultured and treated with pro- and/or anti-inflammatory stimulations, and then ELISA and PCR tests were conducted to view the expression pattern of inflammatory cytokines, specific microRNAs, and their predicted targets. Then, I reviewed the results to identify whether new microRNA target relationships could be suspected in the context of pro- and anti-inflammatory microglia states.

The contribution of this project and future research for identifying microRNA target relationships in differentially activated microglia, is relevant for therapeutic approaches to reduce neuroinflammation and trigger a recovery phenotype in MS.