Moriah Greene – Independent Project

Moriah Greene – Independent Project

Class of 2017

Introduction to Topic

For my Biomedical Science independent project I participated in a summer internship program at The United States Chemical Defense Building in Edgewood at APG. This was an internship of which I had to apply for prior to the start of the summer. The program lasted from June 20th-August 12th. I chose to participate in this program because I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to get exposed to real world Biomedical Lab work and get to work one on one with doctors who are very qualified in Behavioral Psychology work. At this internship, I got to work in the lab with swine, guinea pigs and mice. My independent project focuses on how animal training can be improved and more efficient so that the animals can be utilized in Defense scenarios.

Project Description

During my experience I got to walk through the labs at USAMRICD on a tour to see where the animals under training are housed and how the process works. There is many ways that the doctors try and have trained the animals with. One of the ways is clicker training which is one of the more basic ways to train an animal. They would press a clicker and then the animal would need to respond to a command followed by some type of reinforcement (treat) if the animal performed the task correctly. They also used sling training in which they would put swine in a sling and give it juice to get the swine used to being held. Seeing these methods of animal training got me thinking that I could come up with a new way to train animals. It seemed as though they did not have many new ways or different ways that they were trying to train animals so I think that I could come up with something that could change the way animals listen to various commands by officers. I watched carefully how the doctors trained the animals and used the experience to incorporate how the doctors train with how I think they could train.

Experience Description

My intern experience throughout the internship wasn’t the most exciting experience, but it was very informative. During my time, I read a lot of scientific articles about behavioral psychology and animal training. A typical day at the internship consisted of  going in at eight in the morning, saying good morning to my mentors and they would give us a brief of what we would be doing that day, then we would read the article sections that they assigned to us, then discuss them in the afternoon and then get assigned another reading that we would either discuss the next morning or afternoon. This experience was important for me to go through, but it made me realize that I would never want to go into this field and a psychology major would not be for me. I thought that the discussions that I had with my mentors were very educational and they taught me a lot about human and animal behavior. My mentor and his team work very hard at their jobs and they were very welcoming to me interning there. One of my many observations as I interned was that I got to take an animal training lab and class. In order for me to participate in the labs and hold the animals, I had to go through briefings and classes that taught me the proper way to hold the animals, went over safety concerns and lab dressings was went over with us. I also had to take a few online quizzes with an 80% or better to get certification  to participate. In the lab, one of the doctors that worked in the labs taught us how to hold animals with mice, rats and guinea pigs. To be honest, I was alittle skeptical about holding the mice because they would bite sometimes, we had gloves on, but their bites sometimes could go through the gloves. One of the doctors actually got bit during a demonstration and started bleeding. I learned through this experience how to give a subcutaneous injection on a guinea pig. I felt so bad doing it because the guinea pig squealed a lot and I was afraid that I was causing it pain. This was my favorite part of the internship because it was a nice step away from the monotony of reading articles all day. The hands on experience allowed me to learn a lot more than I did by reading articles that I had a hard time understanding because they were on a higher level.

Innovation Description

Throughout my experience I wanted to come up with a new technique for animal training. I decided to create a brace that would go on the dog’s legs and connect to each brace on all four legs. This apparatus would be free moving, so that the dogs do not feel restrained or uncomfortable and they can be taken on and off at any time. When the doctors want to train the animals, there will be a switch that turns it on. What this brace does is that it is programmed to a certain command or set of commands made by the trainers and the dog can only move to those commands. If the brace detects movement from the dog when the right command is said, the brace locks up. This will train the dog with negative reinforcement. With this brace, it is taking away free movement of the dog and only giving back that movement if the dog listens to the command (sort of.) It is teaching the dog that the specific command is good and allows for good results whereas any other command will not produce good results.

A lot of my experience revolved around learning about animal training and that is what I chose to focus my innovation on. I felt as though animal training could be advanced and modified so that field work in the Chemical Defense can be improved. The problem that I wanted to address in the field is that animal training takes a very long time and the training “props” like the juice and the clickers can not be used in the field when the dogs are working, but with my innovation, the dogs can wear the brace in the field and the brace can be used for commands. When dealing with my innovation, a potential problem area could be that the programming that is needed for the control panel could malfunction and the brace could stop working which could be very problematic in the field of work. Also, the brace would have to be programmed for multiple commands so that may take some time. Another issue that could arise is that there could be some legality issues that need to be addressed and passed. Since the brace is restrictive on the animal, some may see it as a form of abuse to them, but I feel as though I could get this passed because animals are still being used for other forms of training and then euthanized when the experimenters do not need them anymore. I feel as though my innovation is restrictive and may be scary to the animal, but it is necessary when it comes to Chemical Defense. The materials that would need to be used for the innovation would be metal, rubber, velcro, a small screen device that was programmed and attached to the brace and a harness that connected all of the materials to form the brace. As I researched close competitors of my innovation, I did not find anything that already existed, but I did find similar motives of training techniques that dealt with dogs. May people train dogs with high pitched whistles and shock collars that prevent them from going forward with a negative action. Some may say that my innovation is very similar to these two objects but my innovation modifies those two and makes them more advanced.

The next innovation that I decided to make is an app, which allows for easier access to the registration and allows the students applying to become more connected with each other and the program. The app has a personal profile for the student that gives them the status of their registration, if it had been received or not, there is a get connected page, which allows the students access to all the social media pages that the SEAP program holds. This will solve any problems with communication. There is no legalities issues that could arise from this app, other than the fact that I would have to get it copyrighted and approved. The materials used for the app is a computer and powerpoint, but that is only for the prototype. With my innovations, I really wanted to focus on what could be improved within the  United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD.) Because the USAMRICD is so advanced already, it posed as quite a challenge to fix what may have not been broken to begin with so I decided to decorate what was already there and try to make it better.

Project Topic

Introduction to Topic

For my Biomedical Science independent project I participated in a summer internship program at The United States Chemical Defense Building in Edgewood at APG. This was an internship of which I had to apply for prior to the start of the summer. The program lasted from June 20th-August 12th. I chose to participate in this program because I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to get exposed to real world Biomedical Lab work and get to work one on one with doctors who are very qualified in Behavioral Psychology work. At this internship, I got to work in the lab with swine, guinea pigs and mice. My independent project focuses on how animal training can be improved and more efficient so that the animals can be utilized in Defense scenarios.

Project Overview

Project Description

During my experience I got to walk through the labs at USAMRICD on a tour to see where the animals under training are housed and how the process works. There is many ways that the doctors try and have trained the animals with. One of the ways is clicker training which is one of the more basic ways to train an animal. They would press a clicker and then the animal would need to respond to a command followed by some type of reinforcement (treat) if the animal performed the task correctly. They also used sling training in which they would put swine in a sling and give it juice to get the swine used to being held. Seeing these methods of animal training got me thinking that I could come up with a new way to train animals. It seemed as though they did not have many new ways or different ways that they were trying to train animals so I think that I could come up with something that could change the way animals listen to various commands by officers. I watched carefully how the doctors trained the animals and used the experience to incorporate how the doctors train with how I think they could train.

Experience

Experience Description

My intern experience throughout the internship wasn’t the most exciting experience, but it was very informative. During my time, I read a lot of scientific articles about behavioral psychology and animal training. A typical day at the internship consisted of  going in at eight in the morning, saying good morning to my mentors and they would give us a brief of what we would be doing that day, then we would read the article sections that they assigned to us, then discuss them in the afternoon and then get assigned another reading that we would either discuss the next morning or afternoon. This experience was important for me to go through, but it made me realize that I would never want to go into this field and a psychology major would not be for me. I thought that the discussions that I had with my mentors were very educational and they taught me a lot about human and animal behavior. My mentor and his team work very hard at their jobs and they were very welcoming to me interning there. One of my many observations as I interned was that I got to take an animal training lab and class. In order for me to participate in the labs and hold the animals, I had to go through briefings and classes that taught me the proper way to hold the animals, went over safety concerns and lab dressings was went over with us. I also had to take a few online quizzes with an 80% or better to get certification  to participate. In the lab, one of the doctors that worked in the labs taught us how to hold animals with mice, rats and guinea pigs. To be honest, I was alittle skeptical about holding the mice because they would bite sometimes, we had gloves on, but their bites sometimes could go through the gloves. One of the doctors actually got bit during a demonstration and started bleeding. I learned through this experience how to give a subcutaneous injection on a guinea pig. I felt so bad doing it because the guinea pig squealed a lot and I was afraid that I was causing it pain. This was my favorite part of the internship because it was a nice step away from the monotony of reading articles all day. The hands on experience allowed me to learn a lot more than I did by reading articles that I had a hard time understanding because they were on a higher level.

Innovation

Innovation Description

Throughout my experience I wanted to come up with a new technique for animal training. I decided to create a brace that would go on the dog’s legs and connect to each brace on all four legs. This apparatus would be free moving, so that the dogs do not feel restrained or uncomfortable and they can be taken on and off at any time. When the doctors want to train the animals, there will be a switch that turns it on. What this brace does is that it is programmed to a certain command or set of commands made by the trainers and the dog can only move to those commands. If the brace detects movement from the dog when the right command is said, the brace locks up. This will train the dog with negative reinforcement. With this brace, it is taking away free movement of the dog and only giving back that movement if the dog listens to the command (sort of.) It is teaching the dog that the specific command is good and allows for good results whereas any other command will not produce good results.

A lot of my experience revolved around learning about animal training and that is what I chose to focus my innovation on. I felt as though animal training could be advanced and modified so that field work in the Chemical Defense can be improved. The problem that I wanted to address in the field is that animal training takes a very long time and the training “props” like the juice and the clickers can not be used in the field when the dogs are working, but with my innovation, the dogs can wear the brace in the field and the brace can be used for commands. When dealing with my innovation, a potential problem area could be that the programming that is needed for the control panel could malfunction and the brace could stop working which could be very problematic in the field of work. Also, the brace would have to be programmed for multiple commands so that may take some time. Another issue that could arise is that there could be some legality issues that need to be addressed and passed. Since the brace is restrictive on the animal, some may see it as a form of abuse to them, but I feel as though I could get this passed because animals are still being used for other forms of training and then euthanized when the experimenters do not need them anymore. I feel as though my innovation is restrictive and may be scary to the animal, but it is necessary when it comes to Chemical Defense. The materials that would need to be used for the innovation would be metal, rubber, velcro, a small screen device that was programmed and attached to the brace and a harness that connected all of the materials to form the brace. As I researched close competitors of my innovation, I did not find anything that already existed, but I did find similar motives of training techniques that dealt with dogs. May people train dogs with high pitched whistles and shock collars that prevent them from going forward with a negative action. Some may say that my innovation is very similar to these two objects but my innovation modifies those two and makes them more advanced.

The next innovation that I decided to make is an app, which allows for easier access to the registration and allows the students applying to become more connected with each other and the program. The app has a personal profile for the student that gives them the status of their registration, if it had been received or not, there is a get connected page, which allows the students access to all the social media pages that the SEAP program holds. This will solve any problems with communication. There is no legalities issues that could arise from this app, other than the fact that I would have to get it copyrighted and approved. The materials used for the app is a computer and powerpoint, but that is only for the prototype. With my innovations, I really wanted to focus on what could be improved within the  United States Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense (USAMRICD.) Because the USAMRICD is so advanced already, it posed as quite a challenge to fix what may have not been broken to begin with so I decided to decorate what was already there and try to make it better.

By | 2017-05-12T03:19:05+00:00 May 12th, 2017|Biomed Capstone Project 2017|0 Comments

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