Thursday, August 28, 2014

URSP Student Beom Seo Koo Conducts Pharmacology and Materials Research on Neuronal In Vitro Cultures

Every week is dynamic in the Neural Engineering Laboratory located in the Volgenau Engineering Building. My work primarily revolves around the cell culture room and the primary neuron cultures we grow there. This week may involve surveying the cultures’ condition but the next next might involve recording the electric signals created by the neurons’ action potentials, performing tests on the cultures, or plating newly extracted cells onto our microelectrode arrays (MEAs). Here am I feeding our cultures with DMEM. We perform all sensitive work in the biohood for sterility, making sure no contaminants enter the MEAs.  The cultures must be fed twice per week on a rigid schedule. It is my responsibility to look after these cells’ well-being while I plan surgeries for more cell plating, perform experiments, or look up references for possible use. Every day requires concentration and dedication since one small mistake in the biohood may lead to a bacteria infested culture, causing weeks of work to be lost! Diligence is expected in the lab, and some weeks require me to stay from early morning till night, but the work I do and the people I work with drives me to continue this work further. Next week is surgery week for extracting frontal cortex neurons from mice embryos. Wish me luck!