Through the Summer Fellows program at Ursinus College, I investigated the role of microglial cells in spinal cord regeneration of Axolotl salamanders. Although published research in this field of study is increasing, much more remains to be learned about the regenerative process. While working in the lab, I learned to use immunohistochemistry and a confocal microscope to label a particular gene in the DNA of a cell. I also learned a lot about lab procedures and techniques, such as sectioning with a cryostat and preserving cell tissue.
What Was Valuable About the Experience
As a rising junior with no previous hands-on research experience in a biology lab, working closely with Ellen M. Dawley, Ph.D., on the neurogenesis project provided me with the opportunity to build skills and confidence as a researcher. By participating in this project, I also further developed my scientific writing abilities.
The Coolest Part of the Experience
I thought it was fascinating to read the scientific literature on techniques used in neuroscience research by professionals, and then be able to apply it as a general solution to a specific problem.
Who I Met that Made a Difference
My mentor, Dr. Ellen Dawley, was a huge inspiration and role model as a primary investigator. She was extremely helpful in showing me how to approach scientific problems through my research project. I would not have had this wonderful opportunity if Dr. Dawley had not taken a chance on me as a sophomore to take charge of independent research.
I also had the good fortune of talking personally with Kenneth Li, Ph.D., D.Sp., of Encore BioPharma, after his presentation to the Summer Fellows on traditional medicine and the nervous system. I enjoyed discussing my project with Dr. Li and, as a professional in the biotech industry, he shared his thoughts on my research.
Phi Kappa Sigma Technology Chair, Tang Soo Do Martial Arts, Wismer on Wheels, New Student Orientation