My favorite Chalk Talk from Last Week

I really enjoyed all of the chalk talks from last week. To be frank I felt a little proud of everyone because from what I could understand everyone had fairly complicated subjects and projects. To see that everyone could effectively explain what their projects were about and what they were doing was impressive despite out lack of experience. In addition, I thought everyone had demonstrated effective public speaking even though I noticed some were nervous (I was nervous, too). However, I really enjoyed Christine’s chalk talk because it was so different from everyone else’s.

Most if not all of us are working at the microbe or molecular level but Christine’s project has to do with quanifiying the amount of stress disctributed amongst different ranks amongst baboons. When I was first listenin to the premise of the study, I was first thinking that it was obvious that the alpha and lower-ranking baboons would have the most stress but then I realized that this was assumption based on bias and observations. Christine’s work is actually quantifies the stress by measuring the amount of stress hormones excreted by the animals. I also liked that the types of stress expressed by the varying ranking baboons were identified. Alpha baboons were marked with energetic stress, having to defend or fight for their position in the group. Low-ranking baboons were marked with psychological stress, meaning their stress originated mainly from their inability to access resources and isolation due to their percieved weakness. I guess I enjoyed her chalk talk the most because it involved a combination of behavioral science and molecular biology. Moreover, (she stressed that this was a stretch)I found it interesting about the implications that this project has on Homo sapiens. I am primarlily interested in microbiology/infectious disease but I do have a keen interest in society and how socioeconomic status affects people in an abundance of ways because the two topics interconnect in several ways.

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