Welcome back to my blog guys! This week I tried some new things that I had never done before since everyone had finished their surgeries and post-op care and were now beginning the experiments. When experiments are done on the rats they are placed in something called behavior boxes. They’re basically high tech and more fancy versions of a Skinner’s Box. Inside the box is a lever and when that lever is pressed, food is placed in the box. Since these boxes are fancy, a program is written to see how many times the rat presses on the lever to receive food, even though the food consistently only comes at a certain time. Using this concept as a general template we can then add more variables, namely drug addiction, into the experiment and see how the results are affected.
The next project I did involved a lot of math! We needed to figure out how many microliters of saline and microliters of fentanyl were needed for each rat to achieve a set concentration. We began with the rat’s weight in grams and from there I had to convert to microliters per second to figure out how much fentanyl to add. From there we could figure out the microliters of saline because we wanted 15 total microliters. So, we subtracted the fentanyl value from 15. I was a bit rusty at first but after all the unit conversions we did in Honors Chemistry, I was able to get a handle on it quickly.
After developing my formula for the quantities of fentanyl and saline, I then calculated the values for all the rats involved in the experiment. Obviously, I cannot touch the fentanyl, so instead I filled the saline syringes. Monitoring the behavior of these rats has begun and I will be back next week with more information once I check up on them!