Being a member of the HSRF is an incredible opportunity to learn more about other interesting projects that other undergraduate students are passionate about pursuing. No two projects are quite the same, so I hope to learn details about the different mechanisms of research and any results that may be known. I am curious to learn about what each of the fellows are planning for their future goals and why they are participating in research. I’ve already noticed from our weekly meetings and our introductory blog posts that my project is very different from everyone else’s, which I think is a great thing! It seems to me that a decent amount of the fellows are working on very specific projects, like analyzing a particular protein or response. Mine appears to be at a slightly larger scope since I m working with muscle tissue, but not a specific kind. My project does get particularly specific with hormones and salt concentrations as we analyze the menopause phase of our mice to determine if there is any effect. We are all working on projects that will aid human health in the future and will add valuable information into the literature to boost the knowledge base of their fields.
Although everyone’s projects sound extremely interesting and exciting, I was particularly interested in Katelyn’s project working with obesity and knee osteoarthritis. My main mentor in lab, Gabby, is an MD/PhD student. Her main thesis work is on how menopause may affect knee osteoarthritis, so I’ve been helping her image slides. Since the projects are focused on the same major issue, I thought it was interesting to see it from another perspective by having obesity as an additional factor instead of menopause stages. Also, I have had my fair share of knee injuries through soccer, so I’ve always been biased to learning more about the knee joint and how we can do research to improve its function.
Working with other people across disciplines allows everyone to look at their own projects with different perspectives offered by people slightly outside of their immediate field. Other people who may not know every minute detail of your project may ask a question that seems obvious, but you never considered since you’re so deep into your field. This can be very valuable for keeping your research digestible for a wider audience of readers. However, since these people do not know the particular in’s and out’s of your field, it may make it more difficult to troubleshoot problems with them since they may not fully understand the problem itself. Overall, it is great to hear everyone discuss their research progress every week and learn more about different areas of research under the (extremely) large umbrella that is health sciences!