Sebastian Tronocoso

Sebastian Tronocoso
Summer Transfer Ahead Research Training (START) Program
Yale University
University of California, San Diego

My six-week intensive research program touched several subjects from leech anatomy and physiology to understanding the principles of physics and electrical engineering. Class lectures were the backbone of my own research project; it allowed me to carry my reach forward with assistance from my principal investigator. I was researching for a serotonergic receptor in the central nervous system (CNS), originally hypothesized to be in the leech organism. It was important to know if this receptor existed in the leech since the CNS of the leech and humans were very alike; and, if found, it would possibly give us another key on how to inhibit serotonin because the neurotransmitter induces depression in people. This meant that my mission was to show if such receptor was present in the animal. Carrying out the experiment was somewhat difficult since it required a vast amount of knowledge, but with the help of the professor and the research articles from other professors, I was able to move forward with the experiment. There were times I was not sure if the results were good enough to demonstrate that such receptor actually existed, but it was sufficient enough to claim that there was a receptor in the organism that required serotonin. That was a moment of “aha” since I thought I had found a receptor, but to be sure that it was indeed a serotonergic receptor, I had to do further experiments. The problem was that I had no more time during the summer to expand my research, but I will resume once I come back to San Diego. My goal is to become a tissue engineer. My plan is to complete the last two years of my undergraduate studies, and then apply to the graduate division at UC San Diego to join a regenerative medicine laboratory. For the moment, I will be focused on working to achieve high grades and find more opportunities that will help me achieve my goal. This is a program for admitted transfer students going to UC San Diego, and I strongly recommend this program for future MESA students planning to go to UC San Diego. The program lays a clear two-year plan of what to do in order to succeed in UC San Diego, and how to get to graduate schools.