Well, I’ve officially begun my descent into grad school by lining up my first lab rotation. Students in the biological sciences typically rotate through three different laboratories their first year to get a feel for different techniques, people, and specialties. They then choose one of those labs to become associated with full-time, develop their thesis project, and complete it in that lab.
Most lab rotations are short (~8-9 wks) and part-time due to the concurrence of classes, but if you are lucky then you can gain an extra lab experience by doing a lab rotation during the summer. I am lucky. Well, if you consider being unemployed and bored as hell lucky (I do, but only because of this lab rotation). Due to my “lucky” circumstances I will have roughly three months of full-time lab rotation work. Kick ass.
And what will I be doing for those three months? Well, not completely sure, but the lab has switched it’s focus from glutamate receptors to hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide gated ion (HCN) channels, which is much less complicated than it seems. Thankfully, they are not that well understood and the beta subunit could be implicated in some epilepsy cases (lots of evidence in animal models, but the ground work hasn’t been done in humans yet). That’s good for me because that means there are plenty of avenues of research available and fundable. It may not be the lab I join to do my thesis research in, but I’m sure it will be a worthwhile experience that I won’t soon forget.