Data Wrap-Up and Moving Forward

Wow, what an experience this summer was for me and my research! I couldn’t be more happy with the data and progress I was able to collect in the amount of time I had. Regrettably, I do not have enough data to be completely satisfied, but on the bright side, it just leaves me more experience in the lab ahead. Undoubtedly, my exposure and time spent on the 3rd floor of the ISC has prepared me for future endeavors in the scientific field. There is, of course, much more to learn and more to research but at least I got my feet wet with a full-time workday in the lab.

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The Home Stretch: Finalizing Data and Analysis

Hello again. As the summer approaches its conclusion, I seek to approach a data conclusion of my own. This summer so far has been full of successes and failures alike. From the fiasco when my glass-bottomed dish that had promising results on it broke mid experiment, to improving our cultures to the point where we can consistently grow long, singular axons across most of a well, the spectrum of success has been quite distributive. As I type, I am preparing my grand finale experiment of using a 35 mm dish with five DRG explants on it. The axons have had time to grow for two days and look ready for an axotomy, calcium staining, and imaging. I will, once again, use the live cell chamber on the confocal microscope to simulate physiological conditions in the body. Hopefully, this will more accurately and credibly yield data that mimics what would happen in the body of a zebra finch during axon degeneration.

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Don’t Throw Stones in a Glass-Bottomed Dish

We all know the old saying, “Don’t Throw Stones in a Glass House”…. Well, those same principles apply to axotomies in glass-bottomed Petri dishes. After tedious preparation of a zebra finch DRG culture in a 35mm plate, I was ready to image calcium fluctuations and Wallerian degeneration on the confocal microscope. All of the necessary ingredients had been added: Fluo-4 to stain the calcium under FITC illumination, EDTA to chelate the extracellular calcium, and FDUR/NGF to continue growth. This was going to be our first experiment in the live cell chamber with controlled CO2, temperature, humidity, and air flow. The glass bottom of the dish was allowing for clear resolution on the pre-axotomy pictures and I was ready to induce injury on the axons.

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Can Embryonic Zebra Finch Survive Without Their Shell?

Hopefully, this peculiar title is what brought you here. I certainly am intrigued by the potential of creating a shell-like environment ex ovo that allows a zebra finch embryo to develop normally for a few days. You may be asking, “What’s the point of  a shell-less bird and why should I care?”. That is the question I am attempting to answer in one of my research projects this summer.

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Zebra Finch Axons: Calcium Imaging and More!

Hello!

This is sadly my first blog post regarding actual lab work and data thus far. The delay has been caused by orienting myself with several new techniques, experiments, and culturing protocols that have been optimized this summer. Now that I am finally in the groove of things, I feel it necessary to share my experience!

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