Starting From Scratch (And Sniff): Understanding the Olfactory System


I completed my summer internship at the Davison Lab of Neural Circuit Function in Boston University’s Neurobiology department. The lab’s research was based in mouse behavior as related to the olfactory system, otherwise known as the sensory pathways that govern the sense of smell. I arrived ready to take on the challenges that my first independent lab experience would throw my way, but quickly ran into an obstacle; namely, that I had never studied the olfactory system in any way. The internship involved development of an entirely new vocabulary and skill set, all while keeping up with the biweekly journal clubs and weekly lab meetings. The pinnacle of this learning curve came when I had to present a piece of recently published primary literature to my lab-mates, all involving concepts I had been completely unfamiliar with mere months before. The presentation allowed me to reflect on how much I had learned over those few months and the amount of knowledge I would be bringing back to Mount Holyoke in the fall. I hope my experience at Boston University can demonstrate the sheer satisfaction of looking back on an internship and realizing just how far you’ve come.