Waking Up with a Purpose

The impending doom of an alarm clock waking me up from my nightly hibernation is less terrible when I know I have lab to look forward to (needless to say I’m not a morning person). Usually three snoozes later my day will start around 8:15. I’ll gather my things and make the arduous trek up the Edens stairs to my happy place: Joe Van Gough. The heroes of JVG will provide me with my elixir of life and I’ll finally start to come out of my hibernation.

Walking into lab (full of coffee, of course) is always incredibly exciting. I’ll never fully know what the day entails, but I know I’ll always get to learn something. For the past ten days we’ve been doing the social defeat experiment at 11 AM. I’ll spend my morning getting to hold cute little mice. I’ve been known to name them, cuddle them, and maybe drop a few ‘I love you’s if I’m feeling extra perky. I get to do science while spending time with animals and some great lab members. After the experiment is over, we usually break for lunch. I’ll hike my way to West Union and battle my way through 12 year olds to get food.

Back in lab, I’ll see what other lab members are doing and see if they need help. My official work for the day is over, but my lab usually needs help doing histology. We implant electrodes into the brains of the mice before our social defeat experiments to get data about activity in certain brain regions involved with depressive-like symptoms. To validate our data we must look at the brains after the experiment to make sure the electrodes we implanted were in the right brain region. That way we can support that our results show data from the region that we intended to be recording. I love this portion of the day because I get to see the project I’m currently working on come full circle. There’s always more histology to work on so I get to learn something new every day.

After my histology is done I make the walk back to Edens and spend my night finishing a paper for lab. I’m extremely grateful that I get to work every week with such talented lab members and have the privilege of learning from them. Not many undergrads get to learn so much so early and truly experience what life in a lab is like.

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