I am a research assistant in Dr. Son’s neurodevelopment lab, and I am conducting a study investigating the effects of ZnSO4-induced neurotoxicity on anxiety-like behavior in zebrafish. I am also investigating the role of the habenula in mediating this anxiety-like behavior. Working alongside Dr. Son, I hope to learn as much as I can from him in this area of study, and take advantage of the myriad of resources available at my fingertips. It seems that every day I learn a new technique, or skill relevant to my area of study, and I realize that as my internship progresses I will compile quite the repertoire of laboratory practices. Additionally, I hope to see my knowledge in the field of neuropsychology bloom as I attempt to absorb all that Dr. Son has to share with me.
I aspire to be a physician, and I have recently learned that I would like research to be a part of my career as well. Therefore, this internship will help me acquire the skills necessary to further pursue this goal, especially those pertaining to research. I will learn how to improve my ability to design and carry out an experiment successfully, a process that also teaches critical thinking skills beyond belief. Furthermore, the ups and downs of performing a research study will teach me determination and persistence; two attributes critical to the success of a physician. Additionally, this internship will help me to expand my knowledge in an area of study that interests me, perhaps illuminating a path for me to follow when I pursue research as a career.
Through my research this summer, I hope to gain more confidence in my knowledge and abilities in the lab. Being in a research setting is very different from being in General Biology or Microbiology lab. You can be very confident in what you are learning in those labs, however, research requires a different way of thinking that’s beyond just performing certain techniques for a grade. The switch in thinking is quite overwhelming, but I know it takes time and practice to nurture and, luckily, I’m not the only one in the same position. Because there is five of us in our research team I’m certain that we’ll all be there for and help one another. Gaining more lab confidence will definitely help me in my career path because I’m aiming to get my Ph.D. and that’ll mean lots of time spent in a lab doing research.
Our first experiment was to see if our bacteria, Caulobacter crescentus, could grow in the water that’s available to us. We tested four different kinds of water: filtered (MQ), tap, deionized (DI), and office tank. The cultures incubated overnight to let the bacteria grow. Initially, we didn’t get much growth. We only found bacteria in the media made with MQ and tap water through a simple stain, but it turned out that there was some sort of contamination in the MQ water because a species that is not C. crescentus grew. We did, however, get C.crescentus to grow in the tap water media. After one more night of incubation we did see growth in all the tubes.
Christina Alfano ’22
Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology