One Month Down One to Go! |#2

Wow, I cannot believe it has been a month since I started working at the Cancer Center. It honestly feels like it has not even been a week. I have learned a load of information during my time here. To give some background the specific type of research I do, I feel it would be best if I briefly explain what my internship consists of. My lab, the Palapattu lab, focuses on cancer research, specifically in the department of urology. We work with prostate cancer cells and bladder cancer cells. There are also other ongoing experiments around the lab but I am not completely involved in those so I will focus on what I am. What I do is mostly culture cells meaning I make sure the bladder and cancer cells are getting split so that they could reasonably reproduce and get used in the trials during the experiments. This task might seem like no big deal, but it is an extremely fragile process. You see, nothing could possibly be sterile enough. While splitting cells, one must be in the most sterile of sterile conditions. Everything needs to be clean so that no bacteria or viruses can get into the flasks containing the cell lines. If this happens, it could cause damage to the cells that will inherently skew our data in an undesirable location. And while this task is daunting, it could be done. When I read the job description before applying for this position, I saw the bullet point that said “must be comfortable working with rodents.” I will not lie, that made me cringe a little bit. I’ve never been very fond of animals, let alone rodents. The whole idea of it seemed icky to me. Well, things changed halfway through my internship. I am around cute little mice a few hours a week and I am not one bit phased. Of course the mandatory mice training helped ease my way into the idea of handling rodents. I have not graduated to the title of mice handler, but I do go into the subject room help the graduate students. I make sure the area is sanitary and then I proceed to preparing the needles that will be injected into my cute little furry friends. This whole process can be very tedious at times since precision is key, but patience is also key in this act. I really like this job,it has taught me so much about the research process and working in labs. The biology lab classes at Michigan have taught me a lot but it does not compare to the work environment of actually working in the field. I have learned that research truly takes dedication. We could spend endless hours working on a project and do countless trials within an experiment and still not get the results we want. In the end however, it is what we learn along the way that sets the foundation for the gateway into the field of biomedical research .

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