A Day at UVA

Last Wednesday, a few members of the Heideman lab (myself, Adryan, Elise, Fine and Melissa) took a day trip to visit the Rissman lab at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Heideman did a post-doctoral position in Dr. Rissman’s lab, when he was making his transition from studying seasonal rhythms in bats in the field to studying the similar questions in a lab-based endocrinology/physiology context.  Dr. Rissman is an incredibly accomplished investigator in the field of neuroendocrinology (and has collected a few SBN accolades!) and is also one of the nicest, most approachable people I have ever met.  She and Dr. H. are old friends, and we were visiting for an informal tour of UVA’s neuroscience grad program.

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Learning Something Really Exciting (If You Like Science)

This past week, I got to do something really exciting: I learned how to clean EEG data.  Most of you are probably now rereading the first sentence with a lot of supposed sarcasm, but I’m not joking.  I really did think it was exciting.  My project coordinator taught me how to identify bad electrodes, vertical eye movements, and horizontal eye movements in the lines of EEG data.  I already knew what they looked like from the data collection when we show the participants their brain waves, but there was something markedly different about identifying them today in training.  Maybe it’s because cleaning the data gets our lab one step closer to seeing what, exactly, all of the many hours we have all spent recruiting and running participants has led up to.  Or, maybe I just really, really love science, and I think it’s incredible that a program like this exists and that I get to use it.

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Characterization and Tracing of Thermoregulatory Neurons: Introduction

Since spring semester of my freshman year, I have been working in Dr. John Griffin’s lab.  Dr.  Griffin is a neuroscience professor at the college, and his research focuses on determining the thermoregulatory pathways in the hypothalamus.  In general, the lab studies the effects that certain drugs have on the firing rate of neurons to determine what receptors and molecules might be at play in thermoregulation.  Lately, however, I have been working on two new projects that could provide major breakthroughs in the study of thermoregulation.

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