Well today I got my poster (4×6 is much bigger than I had imagined) and it looks beautiful. Look for it at Haverford Summer Research Symposium Sept. 24. In other news, my presentation went very smoothly. I was presently surprised to have two Colonels in attendance! Afterwards, the lab had a little celebratory brunch which was delicious and another wonderful surprise.
What follows is a brief synopsis of my summer and a couple of acknowledgments.
Summer Research Experience Synopsis
Human Performance Lab
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda MD
For the past 10 weeks, I have been interning in the Human Performance Lab at USUHS where I have had the privilege of training with world-class scientists working to understand the molecular mechanisms behind different health disparities and human performance injuries and illnesses. The experience, while challenging, gave me the opportunity to not only learn, but actively pursue important questions in the field of health disparities by putting what I had learned into practice.
I especially benefited from a close relationship with my supervisor who throughout my internship taught me how to perform countless new lab techniques (DNA extraction, enzyme-linked immunosorbet assays, western blotting, phlebotomy, and Chemiluminescence and UV analysis to name a few). While these new skills will surely prove valuable in the coming months and years, the opportunity to pursue original research during my 10 weeks was equally if not more exciting. Under the guidance of my supervisor, I designed and carried out my own research project examining the relationship between an important protein in the stress response cascade (the glucocorticoid receptor), BMI, and ethnicity. This project gave me the opportunity to learn first-hand how research is conducted from the design and implementation of the experiment to the analysis and presentation of data. It is worth mentioning that the opportunity to characterize a protein in a novel way and contribute something to the scientific community was particularly gratifying.
Looking back, I am grateful for the support of my supervisors and the KINSC steering committee who made it possible for me to ask important questions about the biochemistry underlying health disparities. I believe this experience of asking and then pursuing these questions was particularly valuable in my development as a researcher and something I fully expect to inform future research endeavors at Haverford and beyond.
Also special thanks to Jenny Punt for her support!