Mia Salans

I grew up in Washington D.C. and moved to Berkeley for college. I am currently majoring in Integrative Biology and will finish my last year at Cal in May. I joined the Patel Lab in September 2013. In my free time, I volunteer at Alta Bates and, when I have time, enjoy reading and listening to music.

In the Patel Lab, I work with Ryan Null investigating the development of scales on butterfly wings. These scales are thought to be homologous to insect sensory bristles. In insect sensory bristles, sensory organ precursors (SOPs) segregate from the surrounding epithelium and undergo two rounds of cell division to form four cells that make up the whole organ: a neuron, a sheath, a socket, and a shaft cell. In butterflies, only two cells result from these divisions: a scale-building and a socket-building cell. It is unknown whether both cell divisions occur and the neuron and sheath cell die, if only one division occurs and the neural precursor dies, or if the original scale precursor cell directly divides into these two cells. I am attempting to determine the lineage and spatial orientation of these scale- and socket-building scales using 5-ethynyl-2-deoxyuridine labeling in chase experiments to observe cells that had earlier undergone DNA replication. I also immunostain the wings for phospho(S10)-histone H3 to look for cells undergoing mitosis and use a caspase staining, which stains cells undergoing apoptosis.

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