…and we have lift-off! | #5

After about a month in the lab, I’m glad to say that the optogenetics pilot study is finally starting to take off! Earlier last week, we received the materials required for setting up the experimental apparatus. The hype had been slowly building up over the past couple of weeks and I was ready to finally get started on the project (and moving past cutting/mounting brains). When everything was unpackaged, we had to get to putting all the pieces together, similar to a slightly more complicated lego set. The pictures below summarize what we’ve put together so far:


Diagram illustrating the optogenetics setup.


Ceramic sleeves for the optical fibers.


Ceramic sleeves with the optical fibers put in.


Laser input to the optical fiber.

Although I’m now approaching the end of my time in the Flagel Lab, the project I planned on working on is only just getting started. Regardless, I’m not too surprised since research tends to move at a relatively slow pace. Through my limited experience so far, I’ve come to understand that it’s hard to plan and stick to a schedule because there’s an unlimited number of unforeseen obstacles that can hinder progress. Anyways, it’s also been interesting to see how the dynamic of the lab has shifted in light of the optogenetics pilot project. At least with previous projects, there seemed to be an enormous informational and experiential gap separating the undergrads from the grad students/postdocs. However, optogenetics generally appears to be new territory for everyone in the lab and instead of unidirectional learning from the more experienced lab members, there’s definitely more exchange-based learning from each other.

The first of the behavioral experiments incorporating optogenetic techniques are scheduled to start pretty soon—I’ll definitely keep you posted on how that goes!

Until next time,

Jason Wong

One thought on “…and we have lift-off! | #5

  • July 27, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    Jason, it sounds like, even though you didn’t get to work on exactly what you thought you would, you feel you still learned a lot from this experience. That’s really good to hear. It can definitely be frustrating when plans change like that, but the fact that you identified something you learned just from this situation, that it’s hard to plan and keep to a schedule, is a really valuable thing and shows that you’re really analyzing your situation and finding the best in it.

    It’s really cool that you’ve been able to be on more of a level playing field with the grad students in the lab with this new project!

    I’m really looking forward to hearing about how the optogenetic project goes.



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