Great Expectations

Summer is finally here, and along with it comes the heat, humidity and high, high hopes. As I begin my research experience in the Volkan lab, I hope to gain a new understanding of scientific research, take a closer look into the field of neurobiology, and find my place within it.

For the next 8 weeks, I expect to do science. This being my first research experience, I have never done science experiments outside the scope of classroom objectives. I have always walked into chemistry or biology lab with the goal of getting the lab done and getting the answers right. I am excited this summer to take a step away from that and begin to reason and question like a scientist. With the help of my mentor, I am already beginning to understand for my research project the important questions to ask that will lead to important conclusions or even more interesting questions. In essence, I would like to begin to think about science in a refreshing and novel way.

I also expect to learn more about the field of neurobiology and how I would like to be involved with it. I have always enjoyed learning about neuroscience in the classroom but I would really like to see how scientists go about uncovering the mysteries of the brain. In the lab, our model organisms are Drosophila, fruit flies, and we look at the mechanisms of olfactory neuronal development in the hopes of gaining some insight into the development of the complex circuitry of the human brain. Within the first week, I have already found it very interesting how scientists have approached the difficult subject in such innovative ways and employed genetic techniques to manipulate biological systems to learn something new. While working in the lab, I hope to use these techniques myself to contribute some meaningful data to the incredible work that those in the lab have already done.

Finally, I expect to discover how I fit into the world of research. During her faculty talk this week, Dr. Sheila Patek posed some important questions for us to consider that I would like to answer myself, such as what is important to me about research and what it means for research to have an impact. I hope through my work this summer, I come to find meaning and fulfillment in the lab, alongside my peers.

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