Hello readers! Welcome to my weekly stream of consciousness blog about my research experience as part of the BSURF program! I just completed my first week of research in the Pendergast Lab, and it has left me excited to begin week two. My first week was spent reviewing my two projects for the summer, getting acclimated to the lab, and planning my experiments for the next week. I also did some thinking and writing about what I hope to gain out of this summer experience. As someone with some previous research experience, I decided that my goal for the summer is to develop as an aspiring scientist. In more concrete terms, my goals are to achieve a higher level of independence in the lab by planning and completing my own experiments, as well as troubleshooting by myself first (before asking for help) when my experiments inevitably fail. I have already begun to develop a close relationship with my graduate student mentor, Jake, as well as many of the other members of the lab. When I can’t figure something out on my own, or when the guidance of a graduate student will aid my work (which I expect to be very frequent), I plan on using Jake and the other members for advice and help when I need. I hope that I can gather data and develop my skills as independently as I can while still successfully completing my two projects!
More about my projects. I am beyond excited to gather data in a largely unexplored territory in the field that we are studying. Earlier in the spring, Jake and some other members of the lab found a list genes that appear to be upregulated in some cases of the brain metastasis line that we are studying along with the kinase that is the focus point of our research. Some of the targets have already been explored by other members of the lab, but there are still many left to be analyzed, so one of my projects is to dig deeper into some of those genes. I can’t wait to see what we can find out about the 30 or so genes I chose to investigate. Who knows, something really cool could be hiding there! My other project is to replicate a series of experiments that successfully worked earlier in a different cancer cell line. Hopefully this will be a relatively straightforward way to show that the promising results found earlier can be applied to other cancer cell types. With these two projects on my plate, I have plenty to plan and execute!
As I look forward into the next week, I feel nothing but excitement. I am already planning to learn two new techniques (at least), gather some impactful preliminary data, and work towards my goal of improving my autonomy in the lab. My next post will be a week from today, and I expect to have some interesting thoughts and new perspectives to share! See you then.
Pictures coming soon!