The Health Sciences Research Fellowship has been a fantastic opportunity to learn other Health Science disciplines, beyond the margins of my work. Ever since starting my research at Pitt, my work has focused on knee joint and stem cell research, so it is fascinating to learn about other research being done at the University by my peers!
From my peers, I hope to learn about their unique research, to find new pathways in the Health Sciences that I may pursue, to learn new research methods, and to gain new knowledge that can be applied to my current work. For example, one of my colleagues is working with ocular neoangiogenesis, or new blood vessel formation in the eye. Though my work focuses on knee osteoarthritis and obesity correlations, research suggests that Osteoarthritis corresponds with synovial (inner joint lining) angiogenesis. Though not my exact focus within osteoarthritis, learning about angiogenesis from my peer will help me gain better understanding of my own work.
Concurrently, my peers are teaching me to look at research from other angles. One student is looking at effects of light on muscle regeneration in female mice, emphasizing the unequal nature of muscle regeneration research between human men and women. This reminds me as I move onto my own studies to incorporate sex as a biological variable, to account for sample differences.
All being within the Health Sciences, there is some similarity between our work. We are all working with primary data, using a post-positive approach while incorporating both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Some differences lie in our mechanisms to do so. Some are taking direct animal testing approaches, using mice or sea elegans to directly test. Others are taking less direct approaches, using protein scaffolds. I am using stem cell derived in vitro scaffolds to test my work. The difference in our testing arises from the utilization of the best model for our unique study.
Again, there are many benefits to working with those across disciplines. Specifically, across health disciplines one must remember that thousands of research methods and applications exist, all of which can be incorporated into our own work. Additionally, it opens one’s mind to a more holistic mindset. Why are we doing this research? How can we implement our findings towards the improvement of society? As these questions appear in our minds, having insights into other fields is beneficial. I never thought I could incorporate philosophy into my research, but throughout the start of this research fellowship, my mind has been opened to all possibilities!
I look forward to continuing to learn about my fellows’ projects, to expand my mindset and research abilities!