I started my research this past week. My project focuses on the embryonic development of the white spotted bamboo shark, specifically looking at the heart. I have been paired up with a graduate student working on the same topic, but focusing more on the brain. The student has shown me the different parts of the research and has allowed me to get hands on experience at each step. We began by collecting egg cases and dissecting the shark embryos. We took different measurements and then put certain structures to be examined in more detail, such as the heart, brain, and dorsal fin, in solution. These parts had to be put into many different solutions and were then embedded in paraffin. Next, we made slices of the different parts, fixed them to slides, and stained them. After the staining process we observed them under the microscope. I will continue this process on embryos at different stages of development to observe changes.
Being paired up with the Chinese graduate student has allowed my to learn more about Chinese culture, as well as how research is conducted in China. This experience is helping to prepare me for research with other countries in my future career because it has allowed me to see how certain obstacles can be overcome, such as language barriers.