A big part of doing research is presenting the data and techniques that are used. After two months in the lab, I definitely had data to present. Although I was not presenting at a public or national event, I was presenting to the members of the lab, who are experienced doctors and researchers. I had presented to them once before in the winter, all went well, and I talk and work with or around them regularly, but I was still nervous about this summer presentation. I created a few powerpoint slides to talk about that included data and images of the arteries that I had isolated. This was the first time that the lab had gotten data from rat pulmonary arteries, something that they had been working towards for a few years, so there was some excitement in the room as I presented. They had comments and questions about my research which are greatly appreciated, as questions from others can often spur ideas for future experiments.
On my last day in the lab, I completed one last DNA and RNA extraction for the summer and then to celebrate all that we had achieved in the lab this summer, a couple of us from the lab went to Zingerman’s for lunch. It was a bittersweet day for me, I was ecstatic to know that I would be back in the lab for the following school year, but I couldn’t help but think about what it would be like when I have to part from this lab one day. I will never lose the valuable connections that I made in this lab, but I will not be able to walk into the lab each day and work with these amazing people. Doing this summer internship was incredibly valuable to me as it allowed me to commit myself to the lab without having time conflicts due to classes. I have confirmed that I do want to have a career in the sciences, my dream being to one day have an MD-PhD and be a physician-scientist so that I can still do the research that I love while also achieving my aspiration of being a doctor.
Research isn’t just the fun of running experiments, it also includes the stress of writing grants for funding to continue the research, writing manuscripts to be published, and other administrative things. I will get experience with writing grants and manuscripts when I return to the lab this upcoming school year. I am fortunate enough to continue my work in this lab through the Research Scholars program at the University of Michigan.