My name is Jake Robbins and I have been working behind the scenes here at Backyard Brains this summer as a lab tech. I recently graduated from Novi High School, and will be attending Michigan State University this fall. My job at Backyard Brains has mostly consisted of working on much of the software coding involved in the intern’s experiments.
As the summer started off, I was working almost exclusively with Marta and her circadian rhythm project, learning how to use the arduino to spy on her test subjects around the clock. We tried all kinds of sensors in the cockroach bin to detect their motion over night. PIR motion sensors weren’t sensitive enough to detect the cockroaches and IR emitter/detectors weren’t practical due to high amounts of data analysis that would be required. When we first tried using an IR reflective sensor with a hamster wheel, (more…)
PEPPERMINT IS THE NEW VANILLA: CHANGING OLFACTORY MEMORIES THROUGH OPERANT CONDITIONING IN COCKROACHES (my working paper title, you dig it?)
Hey all, it’s Alex again! I have completed quite a bit since my previous post. If you already forgot about who I am (you monster!), I’m the intern performing the operant conditioning research on cockroaches! I’m trying to get them to favor the taste of peppermint (which they naturally dislike) over vanilla (which they naturally love). Picking up where I left off last, remember that box I laser cut? That was my testing and housing environment and it started me off on a good foot. I have run preference tests with the Americana cockroaches with mixed positive and negative results. Initially I got a lot of (more…)
I’m Alex, a neuroscience major from the wonderful Michigan State University (GO GREEN!)**, down in Ann Arbor for the summer as an intern with Backyard Brains. I’m working to be a behavior trainer of the cockroach, Periplaneta Americana, through means of operant conditioning. What is operant conditioning? In short, operant conditioning is a way of changing a behavior through a means of reinforcement whether it is reward or punishment. **editor’s note: Go Blue! 😉
At the start of this internship I faced the initial hurdle of (more…)