Through Their Lens: Christina Tebbe masters the art of brain slices

This summer we’re sponsoring high school interns in stem cell labs throughout California. We asked those students to contribute to our Instagram photos and YouTube videos about life in the lab, and write about their experiences. 

Christina Tebbe is a Santa Barbara Senior High School student who is doing a stem cell research internship this summer in the laboratory of Tod Kippin at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Christina Tebbe using a microtome to cut extremely thin slices of brain tissue.
She submitted this photo to our #CIRMStemCellLab Instagram feed

Working in the lab this summer has been by far one of the best experiences of my life. It’s such a great feeling to finally find something that you are truly passionate about, and now I can confidently say that I know what that feeling is like.

I did so many different activities in my lab from running PCR (polymerase chain reaction), handling mice and rats, staining slides, slicing brain tissue, to euthanizing mice and rats. Surprisingly enough, my favorite activity to do in the lab this summer was slicing brain tissue. To some people this may sound like they most boring and frustrating thing to do. But, to me it was basically all I wanted to do every single day, and I did get to do it practically every single day.

It is hard for me to explain what exactly it is about slicing brain that intrigues me so much, for I feel as if one has to actually experience it to discover the magical feeling that I feel from it. If I had to describe how exactly I feel about slicing brain it would be like this; slicing brain is an art. Each slice is perfectly crafted and delicate that just one wrong movement basically ruins your masterpiece.

So to reiterate what I just said and as cliché as this may sound, it is an art. I am completely mesmerized and in the zone when I slice brain, no one can break my from my moment. I feel like I have become a master at slicing brain tissue that now I almost think of competing with myself to see how fast I can slide through one brain. Although this concept of slicing brain may not be as alluring to others as it is to me, I feel proud to say that I want to be able to slice brain for the rest of my life.

So if one were to ask me the questions of whether or not I wanted to pursue a career in research my reply would have to go something like this, “why of course, just make sure that I can slice some brain.”

Cristina submitted these two videos as part of the Creativity Awards social media curriculum:


Christina Tebbe

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