Major/Minor: BME; Pre-health Option; Health and Medical Sciences Minor
Year: 3rd Year
Lab Name and Department: Agile Systems Lab (GT Physics)
Project Title: Characterization of mudskipper blinking kinematics and reflex
Is your lab work remote, in-person, or hybrid? Hybrid
How did you join your lab? VIP
Please describe your project:
Mudskippers, a lineage of amphibious fish that evolved to spend most of their day on land, have also evolved the blinking behavior, convergent with all tetrapods. To learn how and why mudskippers blink, we record high-speed 3D kinematics and conduct behavior experiments to study the physiological systems (neural circuitry and musculo-skeletal system) behind blinking and how environmental and physical conditions impact blink rate. A better understanding of how and why blinking evolved in mudskipper fishes will help shed light on how and why the blinking behavior evolved approximately 360 million year ago in early tetrapods , the vertebrate lineage that led to humans. Furthermore, we have learned that a complex behavior, like blinking, can be accomplished using a rather rudimentary set of parts (the eye morphology), and might help inform the design of bio-inspired actuators
Anything else you would like to say?
Taking the first step is always the hardest when it comes to finding research. Whether it is through a specific program (REU, VIP, etc.) or by emailing the professors, getting that first research experience is the most important. I advise not limiting yourself to a specific lab or research area for your first lab. Overarching way of how to conduct research and how to communicate data is the same no matter what you research and those are the most important skills to a researcher.