12. May 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: brainbow, BU, PhD

All OD3s are officially on the cusp on changes, challenges, and rewards. In a few days, we will receive our scores for the Part I National Board Exam of Optometry – i.e. find out if we passed! Then in a few weeks, my classmates will start their first 4th year rotation with a whole year of full time clinical experience ahead of them. Finally, in a few weeks, I will be diving full time into the fish lab. It all feels very final. People are taking more pictures than even the normal amount, organizing potlucks with friends that will be missed, and, of course, fitting in some studying time for final exams.

On top of these big transitions, I am moving again. Luckily for myself, my move is only going to happen once for at least a year, whereas the new OD4s will move up to 4 times in one year! It’s an exciting experience, though, if you choose to travel for your clinical site rotations. You get to see 4 different parts of the country (and maybe even another country!) that you might not get to see any other time in your career.

I am leaving the Symphony area of Boston. I will miss the Berklee College of Music students around my building and in the neighboring buildings. It gives me pleasure to listen to a violin or an opera singer outside my window on a sunny afternoon. I hope their culture has rubbed off on my optometric brain a bit. It’s also been secretly comforting to see the dedicated cello players wheeling their instruments through the crowded Mass Ave sidewalks. I’ve got to hand it to them – they’ve got confidence and nimbleness. But it has come time to leave this eclectic musical community. My pet companion and I must be moving on to bigger, brighter, and cheaper spaces.

Regarding the fish lab, the most interesting fish I can tell you about right now is called the Brainbow zebrafish. This genetically engineered fish has fluorescent neurons (they glow under the right light in the microscope). Fluorescent cells are commonly used in research, like cells expressing Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP), but this fish is unique. The fluorescent gene in its cells undergoes variable expression, randomly, in different lineages of dividing cells. This means that some fluoresce green, some yellow, red, cyan, pink, and so on. This is where it got its name – the whole brain can look like a rainbow of colors. Why this is so entertaining to look at is obvious, but it is also useful because a whole line of cells that derived from a single cell stays the exact same color. Therefore, you can use the unique colors to trace back where the progenitor cell originated. So far, I have acquired my own population of Brainbows (which look pink to the naked eye) and I hope to use them in experiments as I start my full time lab work this summer.

It is finally green, white, pink, purple, and many other colors in Boston as well! Enjoy the springtime rainbow of colors, friends. Until next time.. 

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