Week 8: Usual Week
Hello, welcome to the eighth week of my Senior Project. On Monday, I attended a lecture from a large construction company and learned about some of the programs that they offer. This lecture allowed me to learn about ways that students could obtain real life experience through internships and other opportunities. In addition, all of the students had brought in their revised products, so I had the opportunity to briefly observe their products. Many of them were very close to being finished. I can not wait to look over and judge their product next week, during their demonstration. (Wednesday was a day off, so I did not attend the class.)
For my ultrasonic sensor project, I spent a part of this week trying to build a gadget that is able to store the ultrasonic sensor and Arduino in one place. Over the last few weeks, I noticed that the ultrasonic sensors were not giving accurate readings, because of slight variations in the angle (when the ultrasonic sensor is attached to the cane) and the tape falling apart. I built the device out of cardboard and placed holes in it to allow for the ultrasonic sensor to detect the ground without it having large variations in height and angle. This ensured that the ultrasonic sensor had the same angle, even though the height changed. Additionally, I built a small storage container out of cardboard to hold the Arduino. I had started to conduct a few more tests, but I had no significant breakthrough compared to the previous weeks.
This week, I continued to shadow the graduate student’s lab. I mostly focused on renewing the cell culture with a fresh new medium, so the cells had enough nutrients to grow. I had finally honed my pipette skills. Compared to last week, I was able to more efficiently obtain and dispose of liquids. In addition, I learned a lot more about the sanitary procedures used to keep all equipment safe, such as the UV radiation to sterilize the entire fume hood and the proper way of cleaning up the fume hood.
For my independent research project, I got started by focusing on Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines and SSRIs are commonly used drugs for anxiety disorders. SSRIs primarily function by preventing serotonin (a type of neurotransmitter) to be trapped in the synapse, which leads the serotonin to continuously interact with receptors that send messages to the rest of the body (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), 2019). This modification in serotonin activity can be used to improve mood by treating depression (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), 2019). Similarly, benzodiazepines lessen the activity of the nervous system by releasing GABA (a inhibitory neurotransmitter) (Benzodiazepines: What they are, uses, Side Effects & Risks, 2023). This excess GABA causes a lack of memories, less anxiety, more sleepiness, and less nervous system activity (Benzodiazepines: What they are, uses, Side Effects & Risks, 2023). The reduced anxiety is vital to treating anxiety disorders, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder and PTSD (Benzodiazepines: What they are, uses, Side Effects & Risks, 2023). I hope to finish studying about drugs this week and move on to writing my final paper by next week.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2019, September 17). The most commonly prescribed type of antidepressant. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/in-depth/ssris/art-20044825
Cleveland Clinic. (2023, January 3). Benzodiazepines: What they are, uses, Side Effects & Risks. Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved April 28, 2023, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/24570-benzodiazepines-benzos