Since my freshman year at Michigan, I’ve been working in a biochemistry research lab. This launched my interest in pursuing a career in research, but up until now I’ve only been in the lab a few hours a week. I wanted to have the experience of being a researcher full-time. I also wanted my summer internship to be at another institution, in a slightly different field. Since I’ve only been a part of one lab, I wanted to see a variety of work environments and lab techniques.
With these goals in mind, I applied to the Mayo Clinic’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, or SURF program, and was excited to accept a position in the van Wijnen lab in the orthopedics department. My research project will revolve around stem cells, an up-and-coming field with many plausible therapeutic applications, including treating patients with osteoporosis.
This project will definitely take me outside my comfort zone. My previous lab work has been based more in biophysics and nanoscience, so I have no experience with cell culture. I’m excited to learn skills like aseptic technique, PCR, and Western Blotting. I’ll also learn to design my own experiments, analyze the data, and prepare figures for publication. In addition to lab work, I’ll get the chance to attend Mayo’s Summer Seminar Series, where experts from a variety of backgrounds explain present their findings.
All in all, I’m excited to take in everything that this internship has to offer, and get to explore the city of Rochester and the state of Minnesota (hopefully with some of my fellow SURFs!) I’m looking forward to moving in and getting started.