Final Post

This will be my last post on the blog. Before getting into my specific research, I’d just like to say that having this opportunity to experience the process of scientific research and gaining exposure to so many new aspects of life in science after college was priceless. The relationships I developed and conversations that I had this summer were as valuable as the actual work that I was doing. I met so many wonderful PhD students and professors who had so much advice  to share and offer. Going into this summer, I had no idea what to expect. The only real lab experience I had was in required pre-med labs, which aren’t “research” based. I was most surprised at how long it takes to make progress. I didn’t realize how many failures there are before one single success. However, when you finally achieve that success it feels amazing and it drives you forward back into the muck of uncertainty. The hardest part is that you put so much effort and time into something that might not even work, but that is just part of the process. One specific conversation that really intrigued me was at Cold Spring Harbor when we all gathered in a circle and talked about ethics and situations that the PhD students were facing. Getting a sense of what the atmosphere is like was helpful. I’m pretty confident that I will not be applying to PhD programs after college; however, I would’t say that it is out of the question someday down the road. Right now, I’m focusing on medical school, but after that there are many options to consider and I’m glad that there are so many options to choose from.

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Cold Spring Harbor

Cold Spring Harbor was like an intellectually intensive summer camp. And it was the greatest educational experience I’ve ever had. In many ways it was more fun than freshman year of college.

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Last weeks in Williamsburg

Environment. My last few weeks in the lab were quiet since the other two undergrads were gone. It was pretty lonely being stuck inside a freezing cold lab with no one to talk to.  I’ve learned that I need a social work environment. I am much more productive when I have a friend also working in the same room or at the same table. I don’t enjoy feeling isolated from the world. It is nice to be able to take a break and have someone to take a walk to Wawa with or share something funny with. Knowing this, I’m going to make sure I schedule my time in the lab next fall when they are also in the lab.

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CBL

Week 2 in the CBL was my first week actually spent full time in the lab. I’ve been spending a significant amount of time with Virtual Cell- tutorials and diffusion simulations. My goal is to be able to break down my project and figure out how to make it work with VCell. If not, I’ll just have to use Matlab, which according to Greg wouldn’t be the end of the world.

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Computational Biology

Here’s an update on my first week in the CBL lab!

Tuesday: CSUMS had a nice orientation breakfast to welcome everyone. Then, I met with my advisor and we discussed my project and lab expectations. My project is actually changing from what we had initially discussed. For now, I’m learning how to use VCell and reading about calcium signals in RBL-2H3 cells instead of cardiac myocytes. I’ll blog in more detail about my project next time. I’m also working on a few problems in Matlab. For anyone that is interested, here is the link to VCell (http://www.nrcam.uchc.edu/vcell_software/login.html). [Read more…]