Hello! My name is Andrew Choi and I am very thrilled and ecstatic to partake in an educational journey with my fellow peers and especially my supervisor, Dr. Genevieve Gowing Ph.D (commonly referred to as ‘Gen’)! During the first few days of the CIRM Minors in Research Program, I ,along with other teens partaking in the research program, participated in a two-day orientation covering in-depth information of what is expected from us including proper lab safety and basic mannerisms. On the second day of the program, I acquired a more lucid understanding of the processes occurring in the Regenerative Medicine Institute at Cedars-Sinai. While meeting with Dr. Gowing on the second day, she pictured what my experiences and the takeaways would be like to me. I am far beyond excited to know that my forthcoming summer days will be filled with new knowledge pertaining to Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor (CNTF), astrocytes, neural progenitor cell transplantation, and much more. Dr. Gowing explained to me that I will be confirming her experimental data to ensure her research feasibility. Coming from a completely different working environment, after partaking in the YED Internship program at Cedars-Sinai geared toward more clerical work, the first day felt a bit overwhelming yet very interesting. I was fascinated by many state-of-the-art lab equipment’s used by the researchers.
On the first day in the lab, Dr. Gowing and I performed immunocytochemistry (ICC) to stain cells. Our goal was to compare cells expressing CNTF and the control cells not expressing the growth factor. The ICC was for qualitative purposes. Prior to proceeding with the laboratory experiment on the second day, I had some reading relating to stereology, a modality to make our qualitative data into quantitative data, meaning that I would count the stained cells and use a program to approximate the number of cells expressing CNTF. I am exceptionally grateful to be apart of this program and for another great opportunity!