CURF #3: My Research Reflection

I have learned a lot about the research process throughout this semester through my independent project. In addition, I learned new skills that would help me grow as a researcher. This semester through my project, I tested the predictive association between white light during sleep and next-day negative mood in adolescents. These findings could implicate light exposure during sleep as a modifiable risk factor for negative mood in adolescents. My research focuses on investigating the role of sleep in brain development and psychiatric illness in adolescence. This semester I have been working on writing a research manuscript to submit for publication. I have also been reading relevant literature to learn more about this topic. 

In addition to my project, I have also been running participant visits for different studies conducted in the Sleep, Affective, Neuroscience, and Development (SAND) lab. I enjoy interacting with participants, aiding with participant recruitment, and being able to help the studies progress. For example, I have been able to run participant visits for a study that investigates how sleep influences mood in teens who are feeling down. As well as another study that examines how light therapy can help us adjust to jet lag. Through conducting participant visits to the lab, I have been able to better understand the data collection process. 

Through the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, I am grateful that I can share my research journey with others. I enjoy reading my classmate’s blog posts and learning about the types of research they are currently involved with. It is also intriguing to learn about the different kinds of research conducted at the university. I believe that learning about other types of research is essential to having a more well-rounded background and knowledge. 

Below is an example light assessment through an Actigraphy watch over 24 hours.

This is an example of an actigraphy record with low light exposure during sleep.
This is an example of an actigraphy record with high light exposure during sleep.

Actigraphy Record Key:

Black Spikes: Actigraphy counts

Red Line: Red light exposure

Green Line: Green light exposure

Blue highlight: Estimated rest or sleep

Yellow Line: White light exposure

Dark Blue line: Blue light exposure

I am thankful to have been supported by CURF to further pursue my independent research this semester. Now that CURF is over, I will be continuing my research in the SAND Lab in future semesters.

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