20 Nov Putting Mice to the Test
When Ayana visits ProtoSpace, she comes in with an open mind and a desire to learn more. She’s an honors biology major in her third year and she’s working in Dr. Marco Bortolato’s behavioral, pharmacological, and toxicological laboratory. She’s engaging with rodents and she, along with her lab-mates, are on a quest to create items needed for experiments.
“We’re currently studying aggression in mice via behavioral tests to better establish baselines and gauge when, and in who, certain characteristics develop,” explains Ayana. “We also aim to better assess the mechanism behind aggressive behavior along with other related disorders.”
The goal of the light dark box is to test anxiety response in rodents. “We are specifically looking at this response in respect to gene expression and environmental predispositions” she expounds. “There were several examples of boxes online that were ridiculously priced. I figured that we might as well try to 3D-Print these testing tools in order to reduce our costs and maintain both consistency and cleanliness in the experimental environment” says Ayana.
TJ Ferrill, Assistant Head of Creative Spaces at the library, has been Ayana’s main contact in ProtoSpace, the area in the library where the 3D printers and other technologies are housed. “It’s fun working with students like Ayana who know what they’re after and just need the basic orientation to get up and running,” comments TJ. “And it’s fulfilling to see projects take shape and know that we’re contributing to scholarship on some level.”