Mosab Ali - Lund, Sweden
I did my placement in the Biology department with the vision group at the University of Lund in Sweden. In the department they use insects to study vision.
I worked on two different projects; 3D reconstructions using Amira software and behavioural studies in bumble bees. For the reconstruction, I received stacks of images of the insect brain that was recorded using confocal microscopy. These are obtained by performing a vivisection on the living insect and inserting an electrode loaded with a neurobiotin dye. We used electrophysiology to find a neuron of interest and then injecting the dye to label it. We then extracted that part of the brain and then used the confocal to obtain those stacks of images. Finally using Amira, I converted the neuron into 3D which allowed us to study it further and hence linked it to its function.
For the behavioural studies in bumble bees, we were trying to find out to what extent bumble bees are able to use path integration to locate their home after going to find food. We started a project from scratch, which meant we had to come up witht a setup. This was an extremely unique experience because it allowed me to take part in an entire workflow; designing and building the setup, recording data and making important notes.
The placement was unpaid, but my rent was covered by the department. In terms of the cost, Sweden is a relatively expensive country; I would probably spend around £50 a week on groceries. If you get the chance to live in Lund, it would save you a lot of money on transport, as bikes are the main type of transport in Lund. Lund is a great place since as it is mainly for students. It can also be very quiet specially during the winter.