In the Brackenridge Fellowship, I think it is vital to understand application and purpose of research. In many fields, including neuroscience, researchers may focus on one specific detail or problem. While this specific focus may seem narrow, one can utilize the purpose of the experiment to apply the research into a larger goal. The Brackenridge fellowship cohort groups help to stimulate conversation on purpose. When fellow cohort members explain their research, introducing topics in literature, the classics, urban planning, or rhetoric it may be difficult to see the interconnections of these vastly different research topics. However, in themes such as access to available resources, we can see intersections of economics, science, technology, and language. In hearing other’s purpose statements, I hope to learn application and communication of research in other fields. I also hope by working alongside other Brackenridge fellows, that through my own research that can be applied interdisciplinary I can find these connections and greater themes.
While I am the only neuroscience-based project in my cohort, that is mostly focused in the humanities and non-sciences, I still find parallels in projects. My research is experimental, while a lot fellow cohort members focus on research that requires gathering data from other sources—interviews or existing literature—and analyzing it. In this sense, it is difficult to compare projects as I work with rat models and in a wet lab setting. Some other projects in my groups are based in a similar experimental, scientific sense. A project in my group focuses on creating a peptide that crosses the blood brain barrier. I found this project interesting, because it focuses on a particular problem in the lab, how to have this peptide that they already created functional in the body? My project is similar in the sense that I am using my lab’s existing work to branch off a section of my own project, answering questions about the Dorsal Lateral Striatum and the Dorsal Medial Stratum and its relationship in addiction and learning pathways. The Blood Brain Barrier is also centered in neuroscience, and is a defense mechanism of the brain, so it is intriguing to see how this selective membrane will be able to work around for this drug to work.
I think that working with others across disciplines is useful when based in discussions. It allows facilitation of conversation of greater issues and applications. I think that there are obstacles when one is in the active research phase and working with other’s whose process is vastly different and incomparable. In this sense, I feel that working across disciplines is less helpful since one may be unfamiliar with these processes and inapplicable to their own research. Working across disciplines is helpful when setting up research questions and looking at the larger intention of one’s work, but hard to work with when one person is doing traditional animal science and others are focused on analyzing texts.