A Holistic Research Experience

My perception of research this summer showed me that even wet lab work that I am used to can be modified to an extent to work online. There were a couple of experiments that I put on the back-burner, and knowing bioinformatic information about my gene was key to understanding how to set up these experiments. Working from home requires a lot of collaboration as well. Science is a field of massive collaboration, as it is in every other field. Zoom meetings seem to be as effective as in person, unless someone is physically showing you how to tweak a technique required for a wet lab experiment at the bench. For example, I came back to my lab in the middle of July. My mentor gave me instruction on Zoom, which did not click with me because the logistics of describing what you have to do to electroporate (shock cells to get them to take up foreign DNA) does not translate well as a verbal que, but the physical seeing of what to do worked very well. On the flip side, I was able to find that my gene codes for a protein that has similairity to iron-binding proteins. This suggested regions that I could mutate to observe their deficit or addition of function when these regions were rendered useless by a mutation. 

The Brackenridge program also changed my perception of research. Some of the projects were very novel and I never thought of gathering research in this field. But then I realized that research is the same everywhere in the way that each researcher gathers information (data) and compiles it and enriches it with substantial facts and phenomena from the real world. For example, I really enjoyed the presentation on “Anne with an E” because it was eye-opening to see how much insight media, television, and storytelling have on girlhoold and gender. 

The most valuble experience in Brackenridge was getting to talk to some of the students that I worked in the Ideathon with. There were areas in which our personalities clashed, but also ways in which we overcame that and really helped each other out to make a good final product. This felt like a work project instead of a class project, so it felt like the final product was not there for a grade, but as a symbol of different people working together on something meaningful. 

Next, I want to continue my research in the Hatfull Lab. I am designing bacteriophage mutants at the moment and getting involved with a CRISPR-Cas system project on the gene that I study. I am very grateful that I had the opporitunity to work with Brackenridge this summer because the program gave me many facets of research, theory, and collaboration that I can keep using to make me a more well-rounded and informed individual across all fields.

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