Getting Into a Top Science Competition

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Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby reddi.anoop » Tue Mar 12, 2013 5:41 pm

Hey Science Buddies,

I want to get involved in research in the field of neuroscience. I have already met up with a mentor at a local university and said that he would let me assist him with his project in the lab. How can I approach him to do research in his lab? And I want to do original research. I am reading all sorts of publications in the field of neuroscience. How can I find an idea that you know is original?

Thanks,
Anoop Reddi
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Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby SciB » Wed Mar 13, 2013 6:35 pm

Hi Anoop,

Welcome to Sci Buddies. It sounds like you have made great progress in getting into a lab with a mentor who is willing to let you help them. Reading the literature in neuroscience [especially your mentor's publications!] is the best way to get familiar with the science and to get some ideas for original research.

Talk to your mentor. He/she will certainly have lots of ideas for projects that haven't been done yet to answer important questions in neuroscience. Picking a research project takes a lot of thought. You have to look at the types of models other scientists are using: cultured cells, animals, human samples, etc. You also have to consider the types of equipment and chemicals needed. These can be very costly.

I think my best advice would be to take it slow at first. Study and learn on your own, talk to your mentor and ask lots of questions. There's a ton of research being done now on Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, stroke, learning and memory. It's really an exciting field that you picked!

Please keep me posted on what you are doing and i will try to help you make the best choices.

SciB
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Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby reddi.anoop » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:24 am

Hey SciB,

Thanks for your reply. Sorry I took so long to reply back. I couldn't concentrate on this because of school and other extracurricular activities. I am mostly concentrating on the technique called optogentics. I particularly like this subject and the lab that the professor is working in has also done experiments with this technique before. I went on Google Scholar and started looking at publications related to this. I want to do research that has never been done before. I keep reading publications, but I can't find that one point in which there is no information about it. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Thanks,
Anoop Reddi
reddi.anoop
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
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Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby reddi.anoop » Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:48 pm

Hey,

I don't know if you got a chance to look at my post, but when you do can you please post a reply.

Thank you so much!
Anoop Reddi
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Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby SciB » Tue Apr 30, 2013 9:48 am

Hi Anoop,

Sorry. Didn't notice you had replied to my old posting.

Asking good questions that haven't been answered yet is difficult even for PhD scientists. Reading the literature is a good way to find areas of research that need work but the best way is to talk to a scientist who knows the field. Your mentor should be able to steer you toward some possibilities. My specialty is immunology, not neuroscience, but if you can narrow down the subject to a particular disease like brain cancer or Alzheimers, I can help you pick something that hasn't been researched.

As i said before, it is easy to ask questions but not so easy to answer them. Biomedical researchers use animal models for human disease because it is unethical to do most experiments on humans. You can work with human cells and tissues, but that also takes special permission. The simplest path is to use human cell lines that are safe and don't need to be reviewed by the Institutional Review Board, the group that oversees and approves all work with human subjects and human cells.

Give me some idea what really interests you and we can go from their. Talk to your mentor. I'm sure they have a better idea what can be done in their own lab than i would.

You can do very significant research with fairly simple tools--you just have to be smart about it. Research projects can even be done using just a PC and databases with analytical software.

Best wishes,

SciB
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Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby reddi.anoop » Fri May 10, 2013 8:28 pm

Hey SciB,

Thank you so much for replying! I had a meeting with the researcher and he said that there has been research going on in his lab about optogentics. I decided to research and I have a pretty good idea on what it is. I didn't ask the professor to do independent research yet. I originally came to hime for assistance in his research and then, after a couple weeks, I planned on asking him if I good any independent research in his lab. So I don't want to ask him yet, but I do want to have a topic ready in hand.

Now back to optogentics... I heard that this is a fairly new techinique that scientists are using, so I'm guessing that there should be a lot of original research topics to research about. I am particularly interested in doing research on Schizophrenia. Ever since I had seen the movie, 'Beautiful Mind' with Russel Crowe, I have always been interested in it. I continuing to look for the 'original research' idea about this topic, but if you could help me with this too I will really appreciate it. Please reply back on your thoughts about this.

Thanks,
Anoop Reddi
reddi.anoop
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:35 am
Occupation: Student: 10th grade
Project Question: phytoremediation
Project Due Date: December 16
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Getting Into a Top Science Competition

Postby SciB » Sun May 12, 2013 6:38 am

Hi Anoop,

I read the wiki entry on optogenetics [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optogenetics]—it is optogeNETics, by the way, not ‘optogeNTics’—and I think I understand it basically. It sounds really exciting and I see why you are interested in it. As a tool, optogenetics—let’s shorten it to oG—can be used to study neuron activity in specific areas of the brain by turning them on or off. But oG can also be used to investigate other types of cell signaling and also to control cell function. What I am trying to say is that there are so many ways that oG can be used, you will have to do a lot of reading, thinking and planning to create a research project that is workable.

Investigating the causes and treatments of schizophrenia using oG is a great idea, but how are you going to do it? My best advice would be for you to approach your mentor with an offer to volunteer in their lab and let them tell you what sort of project they need help on. Once you get established and learn more about how oG is used to do research, then you can begin to think about new directions.

We had a summer student in our lab last year who used a near-infrared laser to activate chlorophyllin molecules in cancer cells. She was able to target cancer cells specifically and kill them simply by shining the light on them. This is not quite the same as oG, but the operations are similar. Growing human cells in sterile cultures is something most biomedical research labs can do, and they are a great, inexpensive tool for getting publishable data. Learning this technique would be very useful to you as a scientist.

I’ll be happy to help you in planning experiments when you know more specifically what project your mentor wants to do. Take your lead from him/her for now and continue studying the literature on oG. Good luck!

Best wishes,

SciB
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