My research is generally focused on analyzing the intercellular interactions of somatic cells within the mouse ovarian follicle and the oocyte-somatic cell interactions. I mostly study this by translating serial section electron micrographs to three-dimensional models.
Baena, V., and Terasaki, M. Long cytoplasmic projections in somatic cells of mouse ovarian follicles; Society for the Study of Reproduction; 2015 June 18-21; San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Gap junctions are specialized connections that effectively join two cells together and allow for the passage of small components between cells such as ions or metabolites. Gap junctions are present between nearly all the cells of our body, and affect how most of our organs work. Invertebrate animals also rely on gap junctions for many processes. When gap junctions are no longer needed to connect cells, they get internalized into one of the two cells they connect, forming a double-membrane vesicle. I am interested in whether gap junction internalization is biased in one direction or another and whether internalized gap junctions have functions in the cytoplasm before they get degraded. One way I plan to investigate these questions is by combining serial section electron microscopy and immuno-labeling of proteins.
Norris, R.P., Baena, V., and Terasaki, M. High volume serial section SEM to study gap junction internalization: American Society for Cell Biology annual meeting; 2015 Dec. 12-16 San Diego, CA.
I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Jaffe and Terasaki labs. In the Terasaki lab, we are investigating the three-dimensional structure and length of the odontoblast processes, using serial section electron microscopy. My preliminary results indicate that this method will allow us to resolve 2 controversies in the field, concerning whether the odontoblast processes reach all the way through the dentin, and whether nerves are present in dentin.