The Perfect Lab: The Perfect Lab

Cryptococcus neoformans = something I had no clue about until I came here and became entirely flooded with interest in it

Coming into the lab the first time, I had no expectations. I knew a bit about the fungi I’d be researching and had already spoken with my project manager before then, but I also had never really done any research to have a sense of what it’s like to work in a lab. Ultimately, I feel it turned out to be a perfect fit. My project manager explains everything thoroughly and the research I’m doing easily keeps me super engaged. The readings I was given… are actually fun to read? This whole realization really soothed the uncertainty and skepticism I had about research, so it’s really nice to say I know this is what I want to do.

Because of the pretty quick and communicative relationship I formed with my project manager and mentor, I expect there to be a lot of comfortable bursts of passion in conversation, that much of my series of questions will be answered, and that I’ll obtain valuable advice. Just in the first day, I learned so much. I can’t imagine the kind of knowledge I’ll leave with on July 3rd. I also feel like there will be a much greater level of confidence and understanding of the scientific world. In my application, I wrote about desperately wanting to become an insider to this world. I’ve only been given two days of a taste of what it’s like, and I already feel so, so eager to know more.

Since my lab is solely on discovering more about C. neoformans, there are so many questions to ask. For example, the fungi is able to live in several unrelated environments that aren’t suitable for a living organism. It is unsure what makes it able to do this. The 7ish weeks that I’ll be here will be dedicated to measuring C. neoformans drug resistance and tolerance towards different concentrations of an antifungal agent, or drug, fluconazole (FCN). Still, I think that I’ll be captivated in finding out more about C. neoformans even after that time and will likely ask to continue working in Dr. Perfect, my principal investigator’s, lab.

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