This week was crazy in the lab that I work in because we are doing our second animal trial next week!
I work in a research lab on campus that is developing a fetal pacemaker, and we are in the animal testing portion of the research. We’re testing on sheep right now and hoping that this second test will be more successful than the first. During the first test, the pacemaker attached to the fetal sheep’s heart initially, but it fell off after a short period of time. The design has been slightly altered to hopefully avoid this problem in the second run-through.
I have mostly been working on the external portions of the fetal pacemaker. This week, I was finishing making the skin electrodes for the pacemaker. Skin electrodes are the sticky pads that are placed on one’s skin that attach to an external device through connecting wires (as seen in an EKG/ECG). The electrodes interpret the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time and record it on the external device.
To make the skin electrodes, I have been doing a lot of soldering. Soldering is when you fuse two pieces of wire together using solder, a metal alloy. To start the process, you intertwine the two wires together that are to be fused. With one hand, you hold a heated soldering iron, and with the other hand, you hold the wire of solder. You begin by heating the intertwined wires with the soldering iron, then you gently begin touching the solder to the heated wires to melt it around the wires.
From this process, I have learned one main thing – it’s a really good thing that I am not pre-med. Soldering requires steady hands, and that is apparently something that I do not have! I could never be any kind of doctor or surgeon because I cannot seem to keep my hands still. On top of that, I’m afraid of needles, so there’s that aspect of my decision to not be pre-med, too.
If you have any questions about the research lab that I am in or about research on campus in general, feel free to contact me!