My internship is in the process chemistry department of a large pharmaceutical company. Although I am titled as a process chemistry intern, I am also partnered with the biocatalysis division, making me a process chemistry/biocatalysis intern. There was a project assignment available that had the overlap of process chemistry and biocatalysis. This is incrediblely favorable for me because I work in a biocatalysis lab at Michigan and biocatalysis is definitely something of great interest to me. However, I knew that I wanted to get experience with process chemistry and that is most closely associated with organic chemistry and synthesis, which I know I want to pursue for graduate school. This joint type project for the summer was perfect for me.
Because my project overlaps with process chemistry and biocatalysis, I have two mentors, one in process chemistry and one in biocatalysis. Having two mentors will be new for me and I expect that there will be new challenges, but I also appreciate having this interdisciplinary and cross-functional experience.
My project specifically is focused on a family of enzymes. This summer, I will be working on finding an enzyme that selectively makes a certain product and the correct stereoisomer of that product. I will also be investigating the substrate scope of these enzymes.
I hope to accomplish these tasks this summer and contribute my findings. The work on this project is for a publication, which I would like to be a contributing author on. I am also going into my senior year and will be applying for graduate school in the fall, so I hope to be able to get a letter of recommendation from this internship. In terms of science, I hope to learn a lot of organic chemistry and biocatalysis. I do not have much experience with this family of enzymes as I do not work with them in Michigan, nor does anyone in our lab, so I am looking forward to working with them. I am also looking forward to learning about the research within the company and about industry in general.