Dartmouth Biochemistry

Hi, my name is Taylor Harned, I graduated from Montauk Public School in 2007, and I love science. Naturally curious with a strong love of nature at a young age, the science classes I took at Montauk School instilled a desire to know how things work at their most fundamental levels. This love of science continued through high school and into college.

I went to undergrad at Eckerd College, where I first waded into the world of research. For three years, I was able to conduct research on a couple of projects: one that used frog eggs to characterize cannabinoid receptors from a sea squirt, and another that validated novel drugs used to block dopamine reuptake in the brain. From there, I got an internship at Massachusetts General Hospital studying defects caused by Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, a genetic disorder. My undergraduate research experience focused my interests on molecular research in the context of human health.

After finishing at Eckerd College with a B.S. in Biochemistry in 2015, I got accepted into a Ph.D. program at Dartmouth College and have been here since. I am currently conducting my thesis work in a lipid biochemistry lab where I have been looking at changes in cellular cholesterol distribution related to Alzheimer’s Disease. My lab has previously shown that in Alzheimer’s Disease mouse and cell culture models, changing cholesterol metabolism with certain drugs can stop and even reverse Alzheimer’s Disease progression. My research project looks to understand the whys and hows of this phenomenon, while others in the lab work on methods to deliver these drugs to the brain. Alzheimer’s Disease takes a substantial financial and social toll on this country (and the world), and it is I hope that this work will help get drug treatment to market someday.

My research project uses a broad array of methods and techniques. Here are a few of the main techniques I regularly use: (See Below)

Microscopy makes it possible to view where specific proteins and lipids are located in the cell, and we can monitor changes over time.

A technique called Western blotting can be used to separate proteins by size and makes it possible to quantify specific proteins of interest.

To measure changes in specific lipids, I often pair radioactive assays with thin layer chromatography which allows us to measure enzyme activity and look for changes in the amounts of various lipids.