Neuroscience has always been a staple for Dexter Wu-Corts.
For the second summer, Wu-Corts is conducting a summer research project with Project STEM.
Project STEM is a summer internship program that invites high school students interested in science and engineering to be involved with research at a college level. The program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) and the Indianapolis Project STEM.
The Office of Engaged Learning works on connecting students to their assigned mentors. Project STEM is partially sponsored by the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, IU's Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Multicultural Affairs.
Wu-Corts will spend this summer working on two different projects with the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences Assistant Professor, Ehren Newman.
In Newman's Memory Lab, researchers use optogenetics, pharmacology, and behavior manipulations with high-density tetrode recordings of neural activity in rats.
One project focuses on understanding the relationship between the hippocampus and the creation of memories by causing the hippocampus to express new genes that allows brain activity to be controlled with light. The light is used in the research to identify when the hippocampus is needed to complete a task.
"This research is an opportunity to get research experience, and it's an easier way to get involved," Wu-Corts said.
In the lab, Wu-Corts slices thin layers of the brain and examines them under a microscope to see if the genes are expressed where they are expected be.
The second project focuses on the relationship between brain activation dynamics and behavior.
"It's an excuse to be there and watch what happens," Newman said. "This gives students an opportunity to see what real-world research looks like."
Newman's Memory Lab focuses on giving students two essential skills. One is providing a level of expertise in the designing of the experiment. The other is helping students understand how these experiments are performed by offering a chance to be involved in the process.
Getting involved in research projects provides students an opportunity to understand research. For Dr. Newman, he encourages students interested to send him a thoughtful email that shows the student is interested in working with this lab.
For Newman, students who cite specific details of his work, show curiosity, and explain why joining his lab would benefit them catches his attention.
Wu-Corts find that his previous summer research experience was vastly different from this current one but allows him to learn more about neuroscience.
"Coming into the lab meeting, it opened my eyes about the field," Wu-Corts said. "This is a very good lab to practice neuroscience. I get to learn more in-depth about the research."
For students interested in learning on how they can apply for Project STEM by visiting this site: http://iuprojectstem.org. If you still have questions, please contact our program director, Sharlene Newman, by email:firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (812) 856-1776.