Initially, I wasn’t quite sure how to verbalize my goals and expectations for the summer. I had so many responses running through my head; to learn about the science of my lab, to make friends, to get a head start on what could possibly be my future career field. After revisiting my application, I realized that my overall goal is to grow, whether it be personal, professional, social, or academic growth. I hope to grow in my confidence, explore my curiosities, gain footing in the world of research, and better understand the science of my lab to eventually arrive at questions of my own. As long as I grow and learn throughout the obstacles, I will have reached my summer goals!
Even though it has only been two days, I’m loving my lab and have already begun working at my goals of growth. I’m studying in the lab of Nina Tang Sherwood, which uses fruit flies as model organisms to study the spastin gene. The spastin gene plays a role in microtubule severing, and humans with mutated spastin suffer from a neurodegenerative disease called Autosomal-Dominant Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. Although spastin is exciting, we first have to learn how to handle the fruit flies! On the first day, we learned how to transfer them to new tubes, identify the sex, sedate them with carbon dioxide, identify mutations based on the phenotype, and look at them under microscopes. On the second day, we worked through one of Dr. Sherwood’s papers on fly spastin; it’s not everyday you get to read a paper, have the author explain it to you, and ask any questions you want! I’ve learned so much already and I can’t wait to see where I’m at when the summer ends. As my fly maintenance skills improve, I am excited to begin exploring the spastin gene and its neurological implications. I’ve been having fun learning with Dr. Sherwood, Shibani, and the flies, and am excited to see where this summer takes us!