Due to the fact my high school graduation was delayed, I was not able to start right away with INBRE. However, just being in the lab these past few days I have already learned so much! I am amazed with all the information my mentor, Dr. Pilarski, and my other team mates have introduced to me. Everything is all so new to me such as working in a lab and even moving to a new town. I could say I was frightened of coming to ISU to work in a research lab because I did not know anything about lab equipment and experimental techniques, but Dr. Pilarski, Jessica, and Casetin have been so welcoming and helpful. Just after a few days of being here, I can say this is a wonderful experience for me and this program is going to help me transition from high school to college. I have learned new science terminology, respiratory development, and animal surgical procedures--for example, what is a rig and electrode is and how they work.
Since I started my internship a little late coming into the lab, Dr. Pilarski, Jessica, and Casetin were already working on an experiment pertaining to the respiratory development of Zebra Finch embryos. They are focused on how the respiratory system works. My experiment will then help us understand where the motor pool originates and where the signals of motor neurons come from. My process is going to deal with injecting Rhodamine Dextran dye multiple times into the muscle of the Zebra Finch, which will go through the nervous system specifically the accessory nerve. Then through observation, I will see how the dye leads back to the motor pool.
I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I am also extremely excited to start my project and gain more knowledge. I am excited to see how the respiratory system works in a Zebra Finch bird and compare it to a human’s respiratory system. My mentor has already introduced me to new knowledge about humans, birds, and the importance of this research. I have been a little homesick, but by being in the lab I am able to feel comfortable with Dr. Pilarski’s jokes, Casetin’s music, and Jessica’s help.