First off, I want to thank everyone for doing such a great job presenting their chalk talk last week. I know that public speaking is a struggle for me and I’m sure I’m not alone. Everyone did a wonderful job and is on their way to becoming a great scientist!
A highlight of the chalk talk series for me was getting to see my roommate Georgia convey her science. Georgia has become a good friend of mine throughout the program, but I haven’t been able to talk to her about her project as much as I would’ve liked. Her talk was a great example of basic science and how scientists are working across the world to learn more about various organisms. Georgia’s lab studies baboons from Kenya and then analyses their fecal matter all the way in Durham, North Carolina. They then work to correlate the organism’s biochemistry with their behavior and ecological conditions in Kenya. I find it fascinating that something as natural as heavy rain can increase the level of glucocorticoids in a baboon’s system. I think that often there is a large gap in the minds of scientists between organismal activity at the molecular level and then at the level of the entire organism, but Georgia’s research does a nice job of bridging that gap to show how significantly an organism’s biochemistry can change as a result of something in their environment. This type of research is unfortunately often overlooked compared to research that has direct biomedical applications, and with the current political climate could face challenges with funding. I think Georgia did a great job of explaining why her research is good science, interesting, and deserving of public support.