I am a third-year Biological Sciences major and have been researching in Dr.McNaughton’s lab since I transferred to UCI in the fall of 2017. Since joining the lab, I have become very interested in neurobiology and how injuries and diseases in the brain can lead to severe motor and memory impairments. In addition to researching in the lab, I am also a volunteer at the UC Irvine Medical Center where I help different departments throughout the hospital by completing a variety of tasks. Being a student researcher in the McNaughton lab has helped me develop new skills that will be useful in my future career, and it has also stimulated me to learn more about how the brain works.
My role in the laboratory is to help Dr. Kim run experiments to determine if a mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease has impairments in novel object recognition. Mice in the study are exposed to two identical objects and are allowed to explore them for a certain period of time, then after a rest period one of the objects is switched for a new object and the mice are again allowed to explore the objects. Previous research has shown that mice have a natural tendency to preferentially explore novel objects more than familiar ones. In this project we are testing the hypothesis that the mouse model of Alzheimer’s Disease will be impaired at discriminating between new and old objects due to memory deficits. My duties in the lab included handling the mice that will be involved in the experiment, performing the behavioral testing, analyzing data and interpreting results.
Arion joined the McNaughton research group in October 2017 working with mentor Soyun Kim. He is also the younger brother of McNaughton Lab member Fjolla Muqolli.