This was my last week at the lab. I mostly worked on cleaning up the data files/folders in our server because we have to move all our data to a new server soon. I may be working more with the MRS data remotely.
This week, I got to shadow Yael at the Stanford HIMC to gain an understanding of how the blood spots we collect from participants are immunoassayed for different cytokines. The simplified process: The blood cells are extracted from the paper by centrifuge, they're incubated with beads (beads attach to cytokine + antibodies attach to beads), the beads are put through a machine that colors them with different gradients of fluorescence, and lasers identify each cytokine and measure its levels. This technique is called Luminex xMAP. I also got to see some human heart cells under a microscope and see them contract!
I did mostly NARSAD data entry and dura edits this week. I went to my first lab meeting. This week's RAD was about TIGER, which Tiffany presented on. I learned a lot about the inflammation-depression issue.
This week, I helped out with the MRS data (converting voxel coordinates) and went to a TIGER project meeting, which I will start attending regularly. I put up some TIGER fliers around Mountain View to help recruit participants. I also helped out my first BABIES scan, in which we took MRI scans of a 6-month-old baby and took cognitive measures of the mother, for studying early neurodevelopment. It went very smoothly, as the baby slept through the entire scan (which is very rare!). I also ran an ELS T3S1 session. For the rest of the time, I worked on dura edits and NARSAD data entry.
I finished lots of trainings this week, which means I'll get to participate in some exciting stuff in the coming weeks! They include trier judge, T2S1, CNI in-person, blood, and dura edit training. These trainings allow me to help out with MRI scan sessions in which we scan babies' brains (newborn to 6 month olds) to study neurodevelopment, assist with collecting blood samples from our participants to do immunoassays for cytokines (studies show that there may be a link between depression and inflammation/immune response), and edit out the dura from MRI scans of the brain. I can also be a trier judge in sessions, which is quite an ethically controversial position and I am not sure if I will participate, but it was interesting topic to learn about. I also participated in my first RAD (Research Assistant Discussions) with my fellow RA's and we got to learn more about our coordinators, their future plans, and their advice for us as undergrads.
I was in DC for the rest of the week for a conference, but I came in on Monday to finish up some projects and trainings.
I worked on some reading materials for a training, which included a portion of the DSM and the protocol for a T3S1 session I will be running. I practiced the session with a mock and being backshadowed by another RA. I was able to run a session independently on that Saturday. I also finished a few projects that Michelle gave me: keeping track of the test versions we administered to each participant and compiling data for NDAR submission (an organization we give out data to for grants). I got started on training for being a "mom-whisperer," so I will soon be participating in MRI scan sessions for babies and interacting with moms during the session.
In my first week, I went through orientation and finished some trainings (biosafety, blood safety, MRI, etc.) and shadowed an ELS session that I will soon be running by myself. I helped with some small administrative projects for my coordinators for grant clearing and reorganizing physical data files. I got trained to run T3S1 sessions.