Time Flies and Plans Change

Hello! I have been keeping busy this summer and can’t believe how quickly time is flying! I’ve been working very hard on my research but have had to make some changes to my original goal.

It turns out that verifying the effectiveness of a new technique to look at neurodegeneration takes longer than I thought. Who would have guessed? Because of this, I’ve had to modify my plans for the summer. I am no longer inducing glaucoma in my zebra finches and seeing how their vision is affected. Instead, I am spending the summer analyzing pERG to verify if it is an effective tool to look at vision in zebra finches. If my research supports this effectiveness, future researchers could use this technique to look at how various treatments affect vision.

I spent the start of the summer collecting and analyzing my pERG data. This has been a much more time consuming process than I originally thought it would be. Each trial has so much raw data and I needed to find a way to make sense of it by turning the raw data into waveforms of the pERG response. By using a combination of Spotfire and RStudio, I was able to accomplish this task.

I’m now working on my next step which involves finding the optimal spatial and temporal frequencies of the stimulus. I varied the bar thickness to look at spatial frequency and the bar flashing speed to look at temporal frequency. This will allow future researchers to use spatial and temporal frequencies that maximize the response to the stimulus which will make it easier to see differences between treatment groups. In order to determine which frequencies have the strongest response, I need to find the peak amplitude and latency of each waveform. This is my current problem. I need to automate this peak detection process because there are so many waveforms to look at. Unfortunately, my original code is unable to accurately detect the peaks because of how noisy the data is at times. Once I update my code, I will finally be able to look at the effect of frequency on response strength and timing.

Check in later to see if I am able to find the peaks for all of my data! Thanks for your support!

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