I cannot believe that more than half of my internship has passed. It seems as if it was yesterday when I was settling into my new apartment, getting lost on the bus to the first day of work, arriving and having no idea who anyone is or what exactly my project would entail. But that was over 4 weeks ago. In those 4 weeks, I have learnt a lot, grown a lot and worked a lot! From not knowing anything about how to work with stem cells and how to take care of them, I have started to run my own experiments and generate a lot of data. In fact, my mentor even recommended, that since I have a lot of data, I present during their regular lab meetings, something that I had not even remotely thought of! It has definitely been an exciting past 4 weeks and the next 4 will hopefully be even more exciting but I expect to do a LOT more work in the next 4.
The goals that I had set at the beginning of my internship were to gain a lot of exposure in different fields as well as to network among the fellow researchers. I can say that I have been quite successful in doing so as I have spoken to a lot of different scientists to understand their work and what their project is. In addition, I have attended and been part of journal clubs and talks by a variety of fellow researchers, which has given me insights into what other cutting-edge research is being conducted and how everything ties together.
One other thing that I believe I am doing well is learning on the go. While I had some cell culture experience before, I had never worked with stem cells, and working with stem cells is different from working with Human Embryonic Kidney Cells (HEK Cells). So I had to learn all the protocols and techniques from scratch. However, within two weeks I felt I was comfortable with the techniques and was allowed to run my experiments at the beginning of the third week. This was a huge confidence booster for me and definitely helped increase my confidence as a whole.
So with just under 4 weeks left, it is going to be busy but I am learning so much and am glad that my mentor has taken the leap of faith with me and I certainly hope to repay by the time I am out of here!
Cheers from San Diego!