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Meet the BYB Lab Tech, Jake! The Guy Behind the Guy, Behind the Guy

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…)


BYB Summer Camp Internships: Cort Turns Up for Optogenetics

My name is Cort Thompson and I’m one of the incredibly privileged interns working at Backyard Brains this summer. I’m an undergraduate neuroscience student at Michigan State University and this summer I am working to bring the cutting edge technique of optogenetics to the classroom while also observing the courtship behaviors and gustatory system of fruit flies as well as attempting to map the neural circuitry responsible for the regulation of the proboscis extension reflex.

First, I think a little bit of background information on optogenetics (more…)


Backyard Brains Welcomes Interns from MSU

Summer is finally shining rays of sunlight on our lovely hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and with it Backyard Brains is welcoming its newest bright minds from Michigan State University’s Undergraduate Neuroscience department. Marta, Olivier, Alex, Cort, and Dylan met in the BYB office at the early hour of 10am (well, early for a college student during the summer!) Monday, June 2, to begin familiarizing themselves with the other members of the BYB team, our experimental procedures, and the plans for the next two months.

MSUinterns2014_sm

Each of the five students is planning on writing a research paper, with the goal in mind of each having a publication by the end of the summer. The topics include:

  • Operant Conditioning of Cockroaches
  • Four Channel RoboRoach
  • Circadian Rhythms of Cockroaches
  • Optogenetics with Drosophila
  • RoboScorpion

(more…)