As I’m sure is very common for students new to research and lab work, it is difficult to verbalize what exactly about research makes us excited to do it. Perhaps what is appealing about it is the idea of exploring the unknown, or the potential that we may discover something groundbreaking, or the renown of having your work published, or maybe it’s simply the fun of using cutting edge technology. I would be lying if I said that these never crossed my mind but they are certainly not what I expect to get out of my experience working in the Volkan Lab. My primary expectation to get out of my research experience is to help me learn how to ask and answer scientific questions. I believe that hands on experience and observing others in the lab with much more research experience than me will help learn how exactly a researcher goes about asking and answering questions that they find interesting. I hope that a change in my formulation of and approach to questions will not only make me a better researcher/biologist but also will make me a more well-rounded critical thinker in many other arenas as well.
The focus of the research I’m helping with is to analyze the relationship between the regulation of chromatin around specific genes and the courtship behaviors of the flies. So far in my time at the Volkan Lab I’ve been learning how to go about dissecting the fruit flies that we study. I expected removing the heads and antenna off of these tiny flies using really sharp tweezers and a microscope to be difficult and I was very correct. I’m still learning the basic techniques and procedures I’ll need in the coming weeks but I really look forward to what is to come.