In the summer of 1972, Tickle made her first trip to the MBL to work with Trinkaus, in a lab with a sign affixed to the door that read “Tickle Trinkaus” (Trinkaus 2003, 234). In their research application, they proposed to focus on three aspects of Fundulus gastrulation: the enveloping layer, the periblast, and the deep cells. In regards to the first aspect, Trinkaus proposed to study the activity of the marginal cells in the enveloping layer of Fundulus embryos in vivo by observing the activity with high resolution Nomarsky optics and recording these phases with time-lapse cinemicrography (Trinkaus Archives, Box 10, Folder 23, Trinkaus’s MBL Research Proposal on Fundulus Gastrulation, 1972). Nomarsky optics, sometimes referred to as differential interference contrast (DIC) microscopy, use illumination techniques to enhance the contrast of unstained or transparent biological samples. Second, Trinkaus proposed to continue work on the periblast, the nucleated cytoplasmic layer of the blastoderm of the Fundulus embryo, which he referred to as the YSL. Because the surface of the periblast is adhesive, whereas the yolk cytoplasmic layer (YCL) is not, Trinkaus was interested in studying the chemical basis of the periblast’s surface adhesiveness. And third, his proposed study of deep cells focused on his continued effort to investigate how deep cells move within the blastoderm. Trinkaus and Tickle intended to record this process with high-resolution phase microscopy combined with time-lapse cinemicrography. They also proposed to conduct in vitro work on these cells because, Trinkaus claimed, studying cell cultures would help to understand the processes of in vivo cytoplasmic activity (Trinkaus Archives, Box 10, Folder 23, Trinkaus’s MBL Research Proposal on Fundulus Gastrulation, 1972).
Trinkaus and Tickle pursued this research project on cell motility at the MBL in 1974 and 1975, according to MBL records and the MBL’s Application for Research and Library Accommodation forms in the Trinkaus Archives. During these years, Trinkaus and Tickle developed their study of the effect of colchicine treatment on deep cell locomotion, both in vivo and in vitro, and investigated the role of microtubules in deep cell locomotion. They hypothesized that microtubules were not involved in deep cell locomotion because initial studies had shown that the cells continued their movement in the presence of colchicine, even though the process of mitosis is blocked when the cells are treated with the chemical (Trinkaus Archives, Box 10, Folder 23, Trinkaus’s MBL Research Application on Fundulus Gastrulation, 1973; Trinkaus’s MBL Research Application on Fundulus, 1974).