Neurobiology: Bugs, Mice, and Brains

Robyn, DO-IT Intern
Picture of Brianna, Aaron, and Collin looking at lab equipment.
'08 Scholars Brianna, Aaron, and Collin with Intern and '07 Scholar Robyn at the neurobiology workshop during Summer Study.

In this Phase II workshop, six Scholars (Erica, Collin, Marco, Aaron, Brianna, and Jeremy) and I got the opportunity to explore neurobiology. Over the course of five days we participated in hands-on experiments that involved mice and cockroaches.

In the mouse lab we examined embryo hind brains. The microscope used both UV lights and white light, which allowed us to see the florescent molecules. Using a computer, we recorded the reaction seen through the microscope. Then we analyzed them and made a movie from the results. We also conducted a pharmacologic test using valproic acid, an anti-seizure medication.

The second lab included testing cockroach legs. The goal was to test different leg spines and see how many neurons were triggered when the spine was poked. We created our own stimulus and tested our hypotheses. We then analyzed our data by finding the rate, mapping how many big and small graph spikes there were, and understanding the graph itself.

Over the five days of the workshop, we had the opportunity to do two college planned labs and use the equipment that college students use. At the end of the five days, we put together a presentation summarizing what we learned. The workshop would not have been possible without Marti, Bill, Stephanie, Hiro, and Deva. Thank you all for your hard work!