As I wrap up my final week at the Chan Lab, I explore some of the most fascinating work yet!
This week I focused mainly in the animal laboratory, as Giles was busy with pilot-testing his experiments. I had signed up to learn about Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT), which is a non-invasive diagnostic technique that renders an in vivo cross sectional view of the retina. We used this imaging technique on mice to view their retinas before and after the injection of a fluid into their spinal cords. An expert with the technology taught us the proper protocol, and let us have a go at finding the mouse’s retina. We had to add eye drops to the mice every minute and move the camera so that it was in the correct orientation. The task proved to be much harder than it seemed, as it took tedious micro-movements of the camera and loads of patience to find the retina. Getting a clear image of it was a whole other issue! Though, with practice we all picked it up relatively quickly and are all ready to take the images ourselves. Over the summer I will be involved in imaging mice with glaucoma and other variations to compare to the control mice. After tinkering with the system for a bit, we realized the resolution of the images weren’t satisfactory, so in the future we will be troubleshooting with the OCT. Throughout the week, I spent time practicing on imaging mice and fidgeting with the OCT machine. Here is an image of the OCT device and the mouse’s retina:
Though my senior project officially ended this week, this lab has been so interesting to me that I will continue to intern there over the summer! I have had so many inspiring experiences with some of the smartest people I have ever met, it will be hard to say goodbye.
Stay tuned for my concluding blog post!