This summer, through the 2018 BSURF Program, I will be researching in Dr. Brennan’s biochemistry lab. Specifically, I will also be working with a graduate student in his lab, Grace. Previous to this program, I had only really done wet-lab work in courses, college and high school, where students simply followed instructions and completed a lab report. This experience would be my first time independently researching within a lab, creating a sense of excitement, uncertainty, and curiosity within me.
Primarily, I am expecting to learn a lot about lab procedures and the topics relevant to my specific focus in biochemistry. As mentioned before, as this is my first official lab experience, I am excited to get a glimpse into the life of a researchers and how he or she goes about answering a scientific question. The basic lab procedures, writing in a lab notebook or how to develop certain solutions and results, will be knowledge for me that will be essential in the future. I am curious to know the “why” behind everything, being prepared to ask questions that helps me develop a better scientific knowledge and basis for why certain things are done. I am hoping this knowledge helps me gain a better understanding of the things I have learned in the classroom, as well as preparing me with concrete methods and approaches to solve problems in potential future research. Whether it is seeing why researchers in this lab use certain antibiotics of a specific chemical make-up compared to another or why an environment induced better protein expression than another will allow me to apply all those “textbook” concepts I learned in past courses and develop a new perspective on them.
Expanding off just gaining more knowledge, I am looking forward to this summer as a place where I can start solidifying what I will be studying or majoring in the future. Personally, I learn better in environments that are hands-on and places where I can make mistakes and discover more about the topics I am applying. This experience will allow me to see if Biochemistry or chemistry is a possible route of study I would enjoy, as I ultimately see myself applying the concepts in a classroom rather than just simply learning them. Working in this lab will give me an idea of what a specific learning path will lead to.
Lastly, I am definitely excited to meet new peers, mentors, and friends along this summer program. Seeing as researchers collaborate a lot, building a relationship with those in my lab and within the program is something I will be focusing on. Getting to know both Dr. Brennan, the graduate student mentoring me, and other people in the lab is something I can’t wait for. Furthermore, students in BSURF are a collection of some of the most intriguing and friendly people to get to know better. Other than that, people here still at Duke, such as the Huang Fellows, are more students to get to know better. Building these new relationships and networks will certainly make this summer quite the experience.
Till next time,