Meet Psychology Senior, Sammy Stocking!
Sammy and her mentor, Dr. Michael Ruscio received a 2021 SURF grant to explore invertebrate research. Sammy told us, “Dr. Ruscio and I examined the process of neurogenesis in adult snapping shrimp. Neurogenesis when new neurons are formed in the brain, and we chose to look into snapping shrimp because they go through seasonal changes in overall body growth, as well as overall nervous system changes. Our main goal was to compare rates of neurogenesis with seasonal changes (breeding and not-breeding seasons) in female and male shrimp; we compared these rates using brain staining techniques and florescent microscopy. The results of our summer research are very promising, and Dr. Ruscio and I will continue this research project into the 2021-2022 school year as my Bachelor’s Essay.”
We asked Sammy, “Why is this research important?” Sammy told us, “Invertebrate research is so important! Anything we learn about invertebrate neurons are true of vertebrate neurons. Invertebrate research teaches us so much about our brains and other vertebrate brains.” Sammy continued, “My favorite memory of this summer definitely has to be going out to the Grice Marine Lab to catch shrimp. It was surprisingly easy and super fun. We went out on the shore and turned over rocks until we found shrimp. I gained a lot of valuable laboratory experience. I didn’t have a lot of hands on experience before this summer, but I was able to catch on quick. I learned how to slice and stain the shrimp samples, as well as how to use the florescent microscope.”
Attached are photos Dr. Ruscio and Sammy took on the fluorescent microscope. They used immunocytochemistry to stain the shrimp brain, and these are the results. They believe that the first photo contains one of the deutocerebral chemosensory lobe (DCL), which is where the shrimp processes smelling, feeling, tasting, etc. The second photo shows the protocerebrum, which is associated with the eyes and vision, and the deutocerebrum, which is associated with other sensory information. Thank you to Sammy for sharing her SURF 2021 experience!
-The URCA team