Signature Experience: An extraordinary lab opportunity at UCLA

During their junior and senior years, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in their field of choice through the Peddie Signature Experience.  Designing their own program of independent research or creative work under the guidance of faculty mentors, students in the Signature Program are able to immerse themselves fully within their field of choice.

Investigating the Effect of 4-Vinylcyclohexene Diepoxide Treatment on Depressive Behavior in a Mouse Model

Close up of scientist holding white lab mouse on gloved hands

For her Signature Experience, Morike '20 worked at Modylab at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where she spent the summer measuring physical activity levels in mice against their brain activity levels using a behavioral test and Igor Pro 2.0 software in order to characterize Post-Menospaual Depression in Mice. Morike reports, "The results thus far show a promising difference between the physical and neuronal behavior of the menopause-model mice and the control mice. With this, we can characterize the changes that occur during menopause that can lead to Post-Menopausal Depression."  

Morike Ayodeji

Morike ’20 thinks back on walking into the Modylab on the UCLA campus one July morning “excited, nervous, and full of energy,” only to find out most of the staff were stuck in the Los Angeles traffic. Yet her promptness was not for naught as she had an unplanned and special opportunity to meet and receive a personal tour of the facility from Dr. Itsvan Mody, the Principal Investigator for whom the lab is named. What a way to begin her experience!

Interested in one day becoming a neurologist, Morike was also thrilled to learn that she’d be involved in a project studying menopausal depression that focused on analyzing the physical and neurological activity of mice treated with a drug that models menopause. The pace was intimidating at the start,” she said. “I had to become more comfortable asking questions and I had to become more adaptive and perceptive to instructions. I was given several instructions all at once and I had to learn to pick up on things quicker.

Morike said the opportunity to be a high school intern in such an advanced setting wasn’t lost on her. "I was able to learn a lot regarding technical neuroscience research and disease. I also learned to communicate well with adults and be held accountable for my own work. It was an experience that helped solidify my interest in becoming a neurologist."