Examining Self Isolation Induced Stress and Exploring Modern Self Administration Paradigms

Claude-Ericka Ekobeni


Engineering and Applied Sciences


Project Summary

I thoroughly enjoyed and am grateful for my time spent working as part of the Heller Lab. The lab’s focus on pharmacological therapeutics for cocaine use disorder is originally where my interest in its work manifested. I have always had an interest in developing what feels like more empathetic solutions to substance abuse, and after working with the Heller Lab, I am certain that this team embodies the same ethics.

Upon joining this environment, I discovered a slew of projects and interests that were equally as fulfilling. Whether it be attempting to further understand the neurobiological effects of cocaine use or improve self-administration models, my experience in this lab always felt centered around helping others. Work completed in the lab consisted of behavioral assays, tissue processing, cDNA sequencing, and lots of pipetting! I was actually able to learn the correct way to pipette during my last few weeks of this mentorship. I was fortunate to work alongside a number of the lab’s researchers thus picking up a multitude of skills. I can say with certainty that I have never genotyped and worked with gel electrophoresis as much as I was able to this summer.

I have gained a newfound appreciation for in lab rodent participants, aka our nice subjects. More importantly, I have detailed knowledge on the mouse in lab breeding protocols. This research period helped me gain real life lab experience and lessons that I felt were missing in traditional lab courses.

To see my poster, visit Penn Presents: https://presentations.curf.upenn.edu/poster/examining-self-isolation-ind...