BMC Seminar Thursday, April 20th at 12:00 in room 343, Læknagarður
Speaker: Birna Þorvaldsdóttir, a Ph.D. student in Jórunn Erla Eyfjörðs lab (Cancer Research Laboratory), at the Biomedical Center, Faculty of Medicine, University of Iceland
Title: Telomere length measurements using a multiplex qPCR method
Abstract: Telomeres are repeated nucleotide sequences (TTAGGG)n with attached proteins that play a critical role in maintaining chromosomal stability by protecting chromosome ends from damage and degradation. Telomere sequences shorten progressively with each cell division, commonly referred to as the end-replication-problem. Under normal circumstances, telomere length reaches a certain threshold, which leads to replicative senescence in cells, and this has been associated with aging. Dysfunctional telomere maintenance can cause excessive telomere shortening which can lead to chromosomal instability. Short telomeres have been linked to increased risk of various diseases, including many cancers.
We have recently set up a high throughput assay for telomere length measurements using multiplex qPCR, first described by Cawthon (2009). In multiplex qPCR the gene/area of interest and the reference gene are run in the same reaction, increasing accuracy and throughput while reducing reagent cost. We have already screened over 1500 samples from Icelandic breast cancer patients.