While my peers and I share the similarity of all being Health Science researchers, the research can vary greatly from discipline to discipline. While one or two of my fellow students may have a similar research interest, the fact is each student is in a sequestered niche of their own and thus the direct similarities between projects will be few. However, the process of how research is conducted as a whole is universal across all niches and disciplines. Learning about this research process and hearing about the new and clever strategies students are leveraging within their own projects is what truly holds value. While each student is applying a particular strategy to a specific experiment or piece of their project, these principals can be applied to different projects, including my own. I hope to learn about the different strategies that my peers are using to answer questions which may seem impossible to answer, or to collect data which was once believed to contain too much noise. The ability to create these solutions is what truly makes a student a good researcher, and to have to opportunity to have an in-depth look at some of the solutions my fellow students have come up with is invaluable. I hope that I can apply or adapt some of these strategies to my current and future projects in order to answer questions I didn’t think I would be able to.
Many of the projects within my cohort are looking to explain how certain genes and proteins are expressed within the body. The location within the body where these genes and proteins are utilized varies and thus the strategies used to determine these functions vary vastly from project to project. A project that interests me in particular is one which shares a few similarities to mine. This student is working on a project also within the cardiovascular regenerative medicine niche. However, this project takes a different approach to regeneration and is examining a genes ability to promote cardiac regeneration. I find this interesting as both my project and my peers project have similar goals, but they take vastly different approaches when trying to solve their respective problems.
Due to the complexity of each student’s project, even in cases where the fields are similar, there will always be obstacles when working in an interdisciplinary manner. The greatest obstacle is not having a foundation or background understanding in what another student is working on. This is an intrinsic result of being in separate fields, but can make it difficult to share ideas and thoughts on different projects. It becomes more difficult to communicate ideas clearly and makes the communication less efficient as there often needs to be considerable explanation so that students from different fields understand the context of the project. However, while these vastly different backgrounds and viewpoints may hinder communication, they also allow a fellow student to provide a completely novel and different perspective. When a student is well informed of their field and project, they may become stuck during their project and look for advanced solutions to try and solve the issue. It may be the student who is unfamiliar with the field, but has a completely different perspective, who provides a simple idea which sparks the thought of a different solution. These different points of view are valuable as they allow you to work through problems in ways that you may not have ever thought of.