Monday, April 25, 2011

Joshua @ Emory

Hello world:

I'm in the middle of writing final papers, studying for final exam, and preparing for final presentations in my next to last semester at Emory. After catching up with senior friends and attending Graduation 2011, I will spend a valuable week at home with my beloved family.

I will be departing for London from New York on May 26th. The return flight is already set for August 19th. It's always good to begin with the end in mind, as I've been learning that general relativity of time just means it goes by faster as you get older.

I will be conducting research at the University of Oxford's Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology (ICEA). I will be working in the lab of the Director, Robin Dunbar, a renowned scientist currently studying pro-social laughter. My goals include determining this phenomenon's effect on experimental economic cooperation and contributing to the developing theory on neuro-biological mechanism of Duchenne's laughter.

I plan to keep you all updated throughout the summer on my progress and my adventures. I will be blogging updates like this one, as well as posting pictures, and - when more appropriate - "vlogging." Video-blogging will be an enjoyable experience, for both parties I hope, and will have to suffice when I cannot Skype with you.

In the meantime, I appreciate your prayers and support for a fantastic (and unforgettable) summer 2011!

- Joshua de Gastyne

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hi everyone,

I am super excited to go to Vancouver this summer and can't wait to get there. Meanwhile, I have to study for finals. :) How fun.

I'm majoring in neuroscience and researching the songbird brain here at Emory. In Vancouver, I will also be studying birds, but more from an ecological/physiological perspective. I think it will definitely help me learn more about these animals and understand them as a whole. I will be working in the lab of Dr. Tony Williams at Simon Fraser University, and mostly likely studying how anemia in zebra finch mothers affects their offspring and parenting quality. Dr. Williams and I aren't 100% certain about what I'll be doing, though, so it's likely that I'll end up investigating and helping out with a number of different things. This is a good thing though, because I'll be able to learn many new techniques and perspectives.

For the rest of my time in Vancouver, I plan to go hiking/running/general exploring as much as possible. A friend suggested to me that I visit Victoria, so I may do that at some point as well.

Off to finish the semester! See ya later. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Farewell America. Hello Finland

I will attempt to write this blog all in Finnish. Here we go.

Not really.

Well, what can I say about this AWESOME experience I will be having this summer? Besides the fact that it will be awesome and legendary? Nothing much. I will be taking my MCAT at 8AM on the 21st of May and leaving for Helsinki, Finland at 5PM on the same day. I'll be taking a quick stop in London then arriving in beautiful Helsinki at around noon the next day (their time). This summer I will be doing things I would never have gotten to do if it weren't for the IRES program, Cathy, and Emory. Not only the research side of things will be completely novel and AWESOME, I will have the opportunity to travel across Europe and experience European life on my own and live life.

The research is with Dr. Matias Palva, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Neuroscience Center in the University of Helsinki. The team works with human subjects and has been attempting to discover the underlining neural signaling and mechanisms for working, short-term memory systems using EEG and MEG. These techniques are both new and extremely interesting for my studies here at Emory and for my future as I plan on partaking an 8+ year journey into a combined MD/PhD program. More specifically, I will be integrating a brand new visual working memory paradigm that may include distractors in between encoding and recognition phases in which the human subjects will be required to remember the encoding image to investigate the effects of the distracting image. In addition, I will be responsible for creating this task while also helping with recordings and analysis of the data.

Looking forward to the 21st, eating reindeer and moose, sauna-ing, and of course working =D



Monday, April 18, 2011


Hi! My name is Sara, and this summer I will be researching in Ireland at the University of Dublin Trinity College. My PI overseas is Dr. Mani Ramaswami, and I will be studying the mechanisms that regulate GABAergic (neurons that make GABA as their neurotransmitter) facilitation in vivo. Specifically, I will be investigating the role of RAc1 and Synapsin I, a protein involved in the release of vesicles from the reserve pool in neuron terminals, in habituation. I will be conducting larvae dissections and studying the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) to acheive this aim. Additionally, I will be aiding in the other experiments of the lab, which encompasses measuring lateral neuron (LN) facilitation and PN repression. For the other lab experiments, I will get to use a two-photon microscope, which I am really excited about. I will be leaving for Dublin on the 30th of May, and I plan to return on August 17th, just in time for a short break and classes to start back up again. Currently, I do not have a place to live lined up. I am watching the rent postings, but I think it's a little too early to find a place to live since I'm not leaving for another month and a half. I am trying to get a place near the University so that I can walk to the research lab instead of finding a means of transportation. I will be doing some traveling while in Ireland. I plan on visiting many different cities in Ireland, as well as cities in other Western European countries. More on that will come later. I think I might try to find a way to volunteer at a hospital on my down time outside of the lab. I don't want to just go back to my apartment every time I leave lab, and I think getting a feel of another country's health care system will be really exciting. We'll see how that goes. Until then, Sara