While it’s always busy in graduate school during the summer (no classes! less traffic! more time for research!) it’s been a particularly busy (and youthful!) summer here at the McElroy lab. PhD students Irvin and Lisa BOTH had high school interns working closely with them on their research.
Tyler Masuyama (c/o 2019 – Trinity School, NY) is a 2019 Simons Summer Research Program (SRP) Fellow and worked on a project with Irvin investigating the effects of different wastewater samples on zebrafish behavior and gene expression. Tyler very quickly learned how to dechorionate zebrafish embryos, prepare wastewater extracts, assay swimming behavior, dissect brains from larval zebrafish (!), and assay gene expression in those brain samples using qPCR, all within just 6 and a half weeks!! Tyler finished off his summer with us at the Simons SRP Symposium where he presented a beautiful poster with all of the data he collected over the summer. Tyler is now off enjoying the rest of his summer before heading back to school and chipping away at his college applications. More than a great student though, Tyler is extremely friendly, curious, and insightful and we’ll miss him in the lab but we’re also very excited to see where Tyler goes!
Bronx High School of Science rising Junior, Michael Clerkin, interned with Lisa this summer to broaden his interests and expertise in marine science. Starting the summer unfamiliar with molecular biology, Michael quickly learned to perform RNA extractions of wild-caught shark tissue, optimize primers, run quantitative PCR, and analyze results in the R programming language. Michael’s life-long experience fishing helped him perfect his otolith dissection technique for fluke, tautog, and weakfish to aid the effort of the DEC inshore fishing survey. Lisa, Michael, and Irvin participated in the Long Island Aquarium’s Meet with an Oceanographer program to share their research with curious Long Island kids and families. To round out the summer, Michael accompanied Lisa on the RV Seawolf to collect muscle tissue samples from several of Long Island’s resident sharks–a once in a lifetime experience for a young aspiring scientist! This school year Michael will be tackling many challenging AP courses and begin touring colleges all over the US. We wish Michael the best of luck with his college search and future research!