Fish are friends, not food.

Finding Nemo: a movie I would watch with my beloved family members nestled in the cushions of our couch. A nostalgic family memory often includes gathering around the couch, yet this carefree, happy memory became more harmful as I grew up. I was always intrigued by our environment growing up as I spent most of my times playing outside with my cousins, yet I had never considered the relationship between myself and the environment. After learning that couches are made of flame-retardant materials that are carcinogenic, I want to continue exploring the relationship between health and our surroundings.

This brings up the subject of ecotoxicology: the study of contaminants and their effects on the ecosystem. Over the next few weeks, I will be researching in the Di Giulio Lab, an ecotoxicology lab focused on nanomaterials and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), both of which are ubiquitous in our everyday lives. My research aims to characterize the embryotoxicity of modified PAHs using zebrafish models.

Out of my experience, I’m hoping to learn more about toxicology and myself. After an amazing experience working in a neighboring lab, I’m excited to continue my study at the Di Giulio Lab to learn more about this field. I’m also hoping this experience will help me learn more about which career path I’d like to pursue after college. Coming out of high school, I was pretty set on medicine; however, after learning about the field of environmental health sciences and working in a lab setting, I’m considering a graduate school track.

The environmental perspective of health is often overlooked. Many people think of eating a balanced diet or exercising regularly when maintaining a healthy lifestyle, yet surroundings can play just as great a role. I’m hoping to learn more about this with my fish friends.

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