- Research Program Mentor
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Brain glial cells, insects and animals, behavior, neuropsychiatric disorders
Ethology: The cataloguing of a day in the life of an animal
This project hopes to hone your observational skills, one of the first steps to some of science's greatest insights. Bird migration, the imprinting of young animals on the thing they're first exposed to, bee communication. All of these first started from first observing animals in their natural habitat. Where you live and the environments you're surrounded by will impact what sort of animals you may be able to use. You'll be choosing some animal in nature that you'll have easy access to observing. I've found watching birds or squirrels the easiest. But choose something that interests you! Once you have an idea of the animal you'd like to observe, take time to monitor how they behave and catalogue that in a journal. This journal should include a name you give an observed behavior and a description of what the animal is doing. This may include things the animal does on its own and what it does when it interacts with others. Take care to note other traits of the animals: like color and size, where it spends its time during the day, if there are differences between behavior of the male and females, etc. The process of studying animal behavior like this is the foundation of ethology! After a few weeks of observations, these observations along with further research will open the door to pose a research question regarding that animal's behavior. Possibly how external factors may affect its behaviors. This can all then be turned into a research report or a published video with recorded footage of the behaviors and a voiceover describing these curious findings.
What is an astrocyte?
A personal love and passion of mine, the astrocyte is a non neuronal cell in the brain that performs numerous functions critical to brain health and function. This research project will have you dive into the deep end of astrocyte physiology and their role in the brain. There is so much unknown about how they influence neuropsychiatric disorders and how targeting them with drugs may introduce better solutions. This will be a research review paper or other communication medium on astrocytes and a brain disorder of your choice, concluding with the proposal of possible hypotheses regarding their involvement and how they may be targeted to help others.