Olufolake Majekodunmi is a Biological Sciences major, a URA Scholar, and a MARC U*STAR Scholar who will graduate in May, 2021.
Title of your research project: Behavioral and Physiological Effects of E-cigarette Flavorings in TRPM5 and TRPM5-KO Mice: Altered Taste Preference and Immune Response
Describe your project: My project is to examine inflammatory responses in the taste cells of mice models after exposure to e-juices through the process of immunostaining.
Who is your mentor(s) for your project?
My mentor is Dr. Weihong Lin and Dr. Tatsuya Ogura of the Biological Sciences Department. After my freshman year, I wanted to get involved with research, so I emailed Dr. Lin and luckily, she was open to me joining her lab. I chose their lab because I was interested in the effects of drugs on the physiological parts of the body. My mentors are very supportive and they are always there when I need help.
How did you become interested in this project?
In my first year in the lab, I performed behavioral tests. I studied the effect of e-cigarette flavorings and their masking ability on nicotine-containing fluid with mice models. We saw the masking ability in the flavor menthol. After that experience, I was very interested in the effects of e-cigarette exposure on the tongue.
What has been the hardest part about your research/What was the most unexpected thing about being a researcher?
The hardest part so far has been the cutting and embedding of tissue samples. It’s very easy to make a mistake, however I was able to overcome this with the guidance of my mentors.
What has been the most rewarding part?
I believe research is discovering the unknown and I get to help solve that unknown problem. I find the process of that discovery rewarding because the challenges and failures along the way make it worthwhile.
How will you disseminate your research?
I will present my research at URCAD and hopefully publish a paper in the future.
What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
Find a research area that interests you and don’t be afraid to ask questions. I had so many questions when I first entered the lab and I was too afraid to ask my mentors. There is nothing wrong with asking questions.
What are your career goals?
My career goal is to obtain a Ph.D. in pharmacology and become a biomedical scientist.