Over the course of the next 8 weeks, I will be working in the Derbyshire Lab, a biochemistry lab dedicated to researching malaria parasite biology. Through this experience, I hope to learn new research skills and understand where my research interests lie to gain some clarity as to what I want to do in the future.
Before getting into BSURF, I had no experience working in an academic, research lab. My wet lab experience was limited to classroom learning and summer internship in the Quality Control Department of a company. While in the classroom, wet labs gave me some technical skills and ideas about lab practice. However, I had no idea in what direction I wanted to apply these techniques. When I interned at the company, however, I began to realize that I potentially enjoyed working with supplements and drugs, meant to improve people’s quality of life.
Throughout this summer, I want to understand where my research interests lie while simultaneously expanding my knowledge on lab procedures and techniques that are required in research. My primary interest academically is Chemistry, so working in a Biochemistry lab will help me gain exposure to lab procedures important to both Biology and Chemistry research. Additionally, my overall knowledge of techniques associated with Biochemistry (eg., protein purification, etc.) is severely limited. In my first week, I have already been exposed to new lab procedures! I hope to learn a lot about how to conduct effective research through learning new techniques, while also getting some experience synthesizing and presenting data. Through learning these techniques, I also hope to strengthen my background knowledge of both Biology and Chemistry and dive deeper into the topic that I am researching. I want to learn more about malarial drug therapies and what direction research on the topic is taking now, and working in a lab will give me a unique, firsthand approach to becoming more familiar and involved with the research. Overall, I really just want to learn as much as I can while being taught by people who are in the forefront of their field.
Since I have never conducted academic research, I am also using this summer to figure out in what direction I want to conduct research in the future. Working in an industry lab gave me a general idea of a research topic I could be interested in (the study of molecules involved in infectious diseases in order to work towards therapies). However, since I have never done and kind of research before, working in the Derbyshire Lab will help me figure out if this is the type of research I want to do. It will also help me gain a little more clarity on whether I want to spend my life in academia or go into industry.
In conclusion, I want gain experience with actually conducting effective research, directed by focused research questions. This summer will be a fantastic learning experience and I look forward to being taught (and messing up!) a lot. I am really privileged to have been accepted into BSURF and I really hope that I can gain the most from it!
(Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of me in lab, so I will upload that as soon as I can!)