Submitted by Nikhil Chakravarty
So, a lot has happened since I last wrote. Well, to start, I did a lot of lab work. Immunofluorescent Assays, Western blots, Gel Electrophoresis and all kinds of cool stuff. Doing all of this work has really made me appreciate the work and time that it takes to get publishable work done. All the concepts present in our lab education are some of the newest, most innovative concepts in medicine. Although having this opportunity to really further my knowledge is a dream come true, I cannot really say that this is my most impactful experience here.
I think that the greatest thing that I have done is create new relationships within the lab. Not just with my fellow interns, but the students in my lab and my mentor as well. I have formed friendships that have surpassed the simple ‘hello’ or ‘what’s up’ in the lab. We talk about all kinds of things from which basketball player signed with which team, what religious holidays are coming up, who went with who to prom. All kinds of stuff. Now, this all is really uncomfortable for me to write, so lets move on to less emotional stuff, eh?
My mentor has done a lot with me to further my knowledge of these cutting-edge concepts. He has trusted me to edit some of his manuscripts pre-publishing and I actually gave a presentation to discuss my project at our weekly lab meeting. In the lead-up to this, the task seemed extremely daunting. But, as I did it, it all seemed to fall in place and my lab was extremely receptive to what I had to say. They helped me to improve my content and the overall presentation, not only so that I can concisely and effectively explain my project at the conference in August, but also to simply give an effective presentation in the sciences. This was a huge lesson that I loved learning so far.
Now that all of the relationships stuff has been addressed, let’s talk about the science-y stuff! I got stem cells recently and it has been so cool, but also really intimidating. I was given the task of maintaining these cells and cleaning away the differentiated cells. This was the daunting task. I had to try and clean away these cells while not taking away any of the stem cells! Now, for those of you who haven’t seen these colonies, the cells are in close proximity to one another. This makes this even harder than it may seem. Anyway, I made my mistakes. I had my moments of glory. I even made my cells fluoresce so that I could image them through a fluorescent microscope! That was super cool. Overall, this whole experience has been a hodgepodge of different tasks that seemed disjointed at first, but, as I really dug down into the nitty-gritty of my work, I learned that, in any science, not everything is as it seems initially.