This summer I participated in the Summer Fellows program and did research on the Slitrk1 protein. I investigated the potential role of this protein in early nervous system development using immunohistology to find its distribution patterns within the zebrafish spinal cord. The zebrafish nervous system is assembled very similarly to the way that the human nervous system is built, so this research gives us a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms of human nervous system development. This information could potentially be useful for creating new treatments for nervous system disorders in the future.
What Was Valuable About the Experience
I learned how to be very independent, yet still motivate myself to be productive without set deadlines all of the time. I also feel much more confident as a researcher than I ever did before because of all of the experience I got this summer. I was able to master techniques such as immunohistology and cryostat sectioning, as well as spend a lot of time mastering how to use a confocal microscope.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
The most exciting thing about this experience was that I was doing research that no one has ever done before. I was able to capture distribution patterns of the Slitrk1 protein in the zebrafish spinal cord and identify different cell types that this protein is present in. I was even able to collect enough data over Summer Fellows to be able to present my results at the national conference for the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C. this November.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
My research advisor, Dr. Jennifer Round, was a very inspiring figure during my research. Although we met the semester before we did Summer Fellows together, our relationship was definitely strengthened by this experience. We are now able to connect on a much more personal level than before because of all of the time we spent together. Meeting her has motivated me immensely and I have noticed a positive change in how I work as a researcher and student after my Summer Fellows experience with her.
Vice President of New Member Education of) Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, Fellow of the Center for Science and the Common Good, snowboard instructor, Best Buddies