Monday and Tuesday:
In the lab on Monday I worked on dissolving rhodamine B into ethanol so that I could encapsulate more in each microcapsule. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble with this because the rhodamine would never completely dissolve in the ethanol, even if the concentration was far below the solubility of rhodamine in ethanol. After dissolving a very small amount of a more pure rhodamine B sample into ethanol, Yuan Shuai and I determined that the rhodamine we have available to use is not pure enough for the intended experiment. Our options for this experiment are to encapsulate a new chemical, or to buy another higher quality sample of rhodamine. We decided to discuss the direction of this experiment with Professor Xu and Dr. Si later in the week.
In the afternoon, I helped Yuan Shuai with his experiment. I took photos of the microcapsules he collected, while he created his stable cone and took photographs of it. This experiment lasted most of the afternoon. I really enjoy learning from Yuan Shuai because he is very passionate about his work, and he has done such a great job developing his experiment.
On Tuesday morning I had another dragon boat practice. It has been fun to meet and spend time with the other members of the team. They often keep a light-hearted atmosphere during practice by joking around with one another and singing songs. Even though I generally have no idea what is being said, it is still nice to be around such happy friendly people.
I got back to the lab by about 2:30 and started working on a presentation for my eye model project that I would present in the meeting later that day. I also took some photos in the lab with Yuan Shuai and Lei Fan that were used to showcase the lab to students from other schools that would come see the lab on Wednesday. Below are some of the photos we took!
At the meeting on Tuesday night we talked more about some of the clinical uses of the eye model. As a summary of this meeting, we determined that there are two different possible eye models. One model would be used to test the effects of ocular and cranial pulsations on the optic nerve, an implanted sensor, or a mounted piece of ocular tissue. The second model would be used to determine how the non-contact tonometry test (air puff test) affects the lens and fluid movement in the eye. This model may be more difficult to create because it requires a transparent 3D printed material. The group of people working on the eye model decided to have another meeting on Thursday morning to clarify the work we should be doing.
When I got home on Tuesday night I had the opportunity to talk to the four other American students that just arrived at USTC! They live on my floor and moved in earlier that day. These students are here from Lehigh University, and are working in different labs on campus. It was so fun to stay up talking to these people about the experiences we have had. It made me realize how many incredibly funny and unique experiences I have had throughout my trip. I am excited to see them around campus and to get to know them better!
Wednesday and Thursday:
Wednesday I spent most of my time creating a PowerPoint presentation for the Thursday morning meeting about the eye model project. I did some research on intracranial and intraocular pressure and the diseases related to high ocular pressure. This information gave me a better idea of what the model should be simulating. In the afternoon there were a lot of students from other schools coming in and out of the lab. Some of the students from the lab were chosen to share their work with the group. It was hard to get a lot done during this time, but it was a fun atmosphere in the lab. After dinner I went with 3 other friends to go see the movie transformers. Below is a photo from the movie night!
Thursday morning I woke up early for our meeting about the eye model. During this meeting there were a lot of ideas shared about what features the model should have. I left this meeting with the goal of creating a model based on a new idea that Professor Xu had. I would first create the general model to show Professor Xu to ensure that I understood his ideas for the model. Since my meeting for the microencapsulation group was canceled that morning, I was able to spend the rest of my afternoon working on my PowerPoint slides for Friday’s paper sharing meeting. This is the last presentation I will be giving about the book, Essentials of Writing Biomedical Research Papers by Mimi Zeiger.
After dinner on Friday I was able to help Yuan Shuai with his experiment again. It was the same concept, but this time he was working with triaxial electrospray instead of coaxial electrospray. I am happy I can help him with his work, because he has done so much to help me with mine!
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday:
Friday was a very busy day, and began with another dragon boat practice. Below are some photos of the beginning of practice! We all generally start by rowing on the side of the dock before practicing in the boats. There are 2 people rowing on each bench in the boat, a person at the head of the boat beating a drum to keep rhythm, and a person in the back steering the boat. We generally practice in two small boats, but the boat for the competition will be different than these shown below, and will have all 20 people in the boat rowing.
After practice I went back to the lab to create a new model based on my understanding of what Professor Xu is looking for. I was able to focus on working on this project because the meeting that afternoon was canceled. After making the model, I was able to talk to Professor Xu again about what changes I should make. Below is a photo of this model.
At night I went swimming with another student from the lab. The pool is on East campus, which I think has some very beautiful scenery. Below is a photo of me in from of the lotus plants that have grown extremely tall and now cover the whole pond!
On our campus there are also these beautiful plants and flowers, but they do not cover the whole pond. Below are some photos of the lotus flowers from west campus. The tall building in the second photo is the west campus library.
Saturday and Sunday I spent most of my time in the lab working on a couple of different projects. Most of my time was spent making revisions to the eye model drawings that I have been working on. I was able to talk to Professor Xu on Saturday, after I made my first model to arrive at my newest model. Below are the photos of the progression of the model.
This model features a cranial chamber, ocular chamber, and a base. The base has 2 openings for the inlet and the outlet to the ocular chamber. These will be connected to a roller pump to create pulsations within the chamber. Between the ocular chamber and cranial chamber, there is a space to mount a strain gauge or other kind of sensor. These pieces will be held together by binding posts. The cranial chamber also has 2 holes in the back that will allow for the inlet and outlet of fluids. These will also be connected to a roller pump to create a pulsing flow. The cornea is not featured in this model because I plan to input the contact as the cornea as I previously discussed doing. Most of the changes to these models were made to ensure the eye is correctly scaled and to create the correct size for the binding parts.
I also had to work on an article that the coach of the dragon boat team asked me to write about being a member of the team. From what I understand, this will be posted on the English version of USTC’s website! Lastly, I was able to help another student from the dragon boat team by correcting her English paper. Overall, it was a very busy weekend, but it was great to get ahead on my work so that I can enjoy my trip this week!