I am a rising senior at Fairfax High School. I am among the eight CIRM Spark research interns at Cedars Sinai Medical Center for the summer of 2016. My mentor is Dr. Veronica Garcia, whose specialty is electrophysiology.
So far, my research veers our attention towards astrocytes and motor neuron communication for Lou Gehrig’s disease, or more commonly known as ALS. An astrocyte is a glial cell in the central nervous system. Unfortunately, there are currently no cures for ALS. As a result, research is being done here at Cedars Sinai Medical Center to develop effective treatments for ALS.
Since this is my very first time working in a laboratory setting, my focus revolves around the proper use of pipettes and other general laboratory techniques. Pipettes are laboratory tools used to draw and expel a given solution. In my circumstance, my mentor prepared a “pilot” experiment prior to my attendance- enabling me to develop familiarity with a forthcoming project through my practice with the aforementioned experiment.
Admittedly, the information imparted upon me was slightly overwhelming considering the fact that I have been out of school for twelve days now (not to mention that high school science courses are nowhere near as advanced as the information I am learning). Nonetheless, the acquisition of knowledge is always and forever will be refreshing to me. My goal is to understand and develop experience in the field of scientific research and ultimately determine the occupation I would like to pursue in the near future. Not only do I see this program as an opportunity for me to expand my realm of science, but I also see this program as an outlet for a career path in life.
With that said, I am absolutely ecstatic to see what the future of this program holds for me. I cannot wait to move on to more laboratory experiments and the analyzation of the results. It is truly an honor to be a part of the CIRM Sparks program at Cedars Sinai.