I felt that, during the workshops, the researchers were very interested in what they had to present and this made the whole experience very engaging. Furthermore, they all answered my questions without hesitation. For example, I asked why mice were more suitable for such and such experiment and they answered very clearly. I still remember filling in the application form for the summer research placement and thinking, "what am I getting myself into?" An unforgettable two weeks was what I got. I was able to help image the cultured cells after immunohistochemistry, which was part of my project. Second, I was given the awesome opportunity to shadow one of my supervisors as he demonstrated part of his research.
I really enjoyed the ‘How do brain cells communicate?’ workshop, because it was very interactive, not only with the activities that the researchers had provided us, but also with the different concepts that they were teaching. I was able to specifically understand the exhibitory and the inhibitory neurons through an interactive game. Participating in the DevNeuro Summer Research Academy was definitely an experience worthwhile – it was an chance for me to work with equipment that is not commonly found in schools, for example the confocal microscope (that uses laser light), to produces live images of your specimen, as well as pipettes that measure volumes to a high accuracy. The most interesting thing of this placement was the different techniques that I learnt, i.e. dechorionation of an embryos chorion, microinjection of RNA of fluorescent, mounting of embryos in agarose gel etc., as well as applying my knowledge of Biology to the different scenarios in the lab such as the use of a graticule and it’s importance in measuring the RNA of fluorescent as well as how florescent proteins are made by transcription and translation. I would definitely recommend it to other students that show a great interest in Biology, that want to be hands on and get involved and are keen to learn new things, because it is an opportunity that widens your understanding and knowledge through another medium other than a textbook and a classroom.
During the workshops, I found it quite fascinating how brain cells communicate fascinating using electrical impulses. I enjoyed being in the lab and gaining first hand experience on carrying out experiments with both my supervisors. I also enjoyed learning the path an electrical impulse travels through to eventually reach our brain. Learning about the axon and how synapses work was very intriguing and helped broaden my knowledge of how we as humans are able to communicate with brain cells. During the lab placements, I was able to carry out extraordinary experiments and use equipment that we don't see in classrooms wich was also a fun experience. The most interesting thing I done during my experience was observing cell activity from a brain cell of a mouse. This unique experience was both enjoyable and educating. I would definitely recommend this to any student.
One thing I found interesting, during the workshops, was learning about the applications of the GFP in other organism and how it can be used as an alternative for staining while looking through the microscope. We learnt that while staining is usually effective for staining Neurons which are transparent, it can be hard to tell the difference between neurons and surrounding cells and seeing them in detail. The summer research placement was an extremely valuable experience because it doesn’t just give you an outlook on what it is like being a researcher but also an outlook on the subject of science a whole. Thank you for this amazing opportunity!”