The past two weeks of my internship have been really exciting. One of the things that I’ve been working on is removing the nodose ganglion from different strains of mice. This is located behind the vagus nerve, just on top of the skull. Learning to remove it was challenging as it is very small and breaks very easily. The best way to locate it to find the trachea of the mouse, and then locate the carotid artery. The Vagus nerve usually lies next to the artery. I was able to use a teaching microscope to learn how to do this. Once removing the nodose ganglion, I digested and cultured the cells. Next week, they will be grown in the organ chip. Experiments completed this week with the nodose ganglion have been used to prove that the cells can be successfully digested and cultured. The next challenge in this project will be to see how well they will be able to be grown in the organ-chip described in my previous post. 

using the teaching microscope with another undergrad in the lab. 

When I’m not working on this project, I’ve been learning about other lab members projects and assisting in those. This week, we did immunohistochemistry on stomach tissue. I’ve also been getting better at working with mice. I’ve learned to remove samples of RNA and protein from the guts of the mice, which will be needed later on this year for experiments in the enteric neurobiology lab. I recently was able to attend an entire day of seminars about cancer and the GI system. This was very interesting and relevant to my research as I study the connection between the gut and the brain. This was also super interesting to connect to what I’ve already learned about cancer on a cellular level in my classes at Dickinson.

Finally, I’ve been loving living in Baltimore. It’s a lot of fun living right next to the Johns Hopkins Campus. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the National Aquarium located in the Inner Harbor area. I’m about halfway through my internship and have already learned so much, and can’t wait to see what else I learn this summer.