Rachel Adamsky

About Me: Hi everyone! My name is Rachel Adamsky and I’m a 8th grade science teacher at Oak Middle School in Shrewsbury! It’s going to be my first year teaching 8th grade. For the last few years I was teaching Earth, Environmental, and Space Science at Stoneham High School. I love to share my passion for science with my students through hands-on and real-world based experiences. Outside of the classroom you can find my outside on the trails or traveling! I love to hike and explore new places (particularly National Parks). It’s especially nice if I can bring my furry friend Domino on the trail with me! If I’m not outside I enjoy cooking and watching a good TV series.

About the Lab: The lab I am working in this summer is the Systems Neuroscience Laboratory run by Dr. Jagan Srinivassan. The lab uses C. elegans (a microscopic worm) to study how neurons interpret social signals and produce certain behaviors.

Project: For this project, I will be working with Tina Vlad. The project we will be working on this summer will be to study the behavioral affect of vaping on the C. elegans. Vaping as unfortunately become a common practice for many teens and young adults. Due to the rise in vaping among teens and young adults, we were interested in studying the affects of vaping nicotine on behavior and the impacts on learning. For our study, we will be running a chemotaxis assay to assess if there are sensory defects in the worm due to vaping. We will be using vape liquid with a varying amount of nicotine concentrations in our experiment. A chemotaxis assay tests attraction behavior of C. elegans towards a specific chemical. As mentioned the chemical we will be testing will be vape liquid. We will see if exposure to vape liquid during worm development has an impact on the chemotaxis assay.

Weekly Updates:

  • Week 1: During week one we focused on learning about the worms and starting a literature review for our project. The graduate students (Caroline and Liz) in the lab I am working in were running a camp during this week so we had the chance to go to the lab portion of the camp to observe the experiments we may be running. It was helpful to see what we could do and hone some lab skills that I haven’t used in several years.
  • Week 2: Week two has been filled with reading and starting to learn some of the important lab techniques for my project. I have continued to complete a literature review to gain important information about the worms, the impacts of e-cigs on the adolescent brain, and prior studies that have looked at vaping in C. elegans. All this information has been extremely helpful because we have been able to create a plan for how to expose our worms to the e-cig liquid. Additionally this week we have learned to perform a chemotaxis assay. We created the proper buffer we need to use for the assay and we learned to wash plates (getting the worms off the plate and ready for the assay). Outside of lab I have started to work on my lesson plan and chose a standard to align my lesson too.
  • Week 3: During week three we started to collect data on our experiments. We prepared worms for chemotaxis assays that will be run during week 4 as well as started a lifespan assay and egg laying assay. In addition we have started to work on our poster. We have been playing around and working with biorender to create images for our methods section of our poster and have found some really cool rendered images of C. elegans.
  • Week 4: Week four we decided to switch gears. We scraped the lifespan essay and restarted a new egg laying assay. We ran three different chemotaxis assays throughout the week as well as completed a thrashing assay. This week was solely focused on data collection and analysis as well as working more on our poster.
  • Week 5: and the poster is done! The start of this week was filled with finalizing our poster. We finalized our data and results to put on our poster. We had great feedback from Professor Srinivasan, our grad students Liz and Caroline, other RET participants, and other members of the RET staff. Once our poster was finalized gears slightly shifted to a stronger focus on our lesson plan. Thursday we went over to the Worcester Art Museum for a STEAM tour. It was awesome to see the connections between art and science!

Poster and Lesson Plan:

(Link RET Lesson Plan Draft)