Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2014

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. Bradley Olwin

Second Advisor

Dr. Teresa Foley

Third Advisor

Dr. David Sherwood


Adult tissues require stem cells for function and maintenance. Adult stem cell populations are often comprised of cells with varied potential to differentiate or self-renew. Within these heterogeneous populations a subset of stem cells undergo limited rounds of division with the purpose of replenishing the stem cell pool, while the majority rapidly proliferate and differentiate to repair the tissue. In contrast, some stem cells are homogeneous and possess equipotent capacities for differentiation or self-renewal. I investigated satellite cell heterogeneity using an RCAS avian retroviral approach for multi-color fluorescent lineage tracing. I successfully generated retroviral vectors and high-titer retrovirus for lineage tracing. I was able to infect the target myofiber-associated satellite cells, supporting the notion that RCAS can be a powerful tool to label and track satellite cells. I performed two-color lineage tracing of satellite cells, however I was unable to examine satellite cell heterogeneity. My work demonstrates proof of concept that RCAS can be leveraged to interrogate satellite cell behavior and function through in vivo cell type-specific retroviral-mediated gene expression.