During my time in the Brackenridge Fellowship, I gained a lot of experience as a researcher working in basic sciences. I felt like I really grew as a researcher and gained a lot of knowledge on various lab techniques. Furthermore, I really enjoyed my time under this fellowship and met a lot of great undergraduate researchers who have similar interests and goals as me.
Working on my project “Let’s Mend the Heart: Identification of a Potential Target for Cardiac Regeneration” was very exciting. Working in the lab each day while spending my time in the lab bench or analyzing meant that a lot of work needed to get done. However, this project really motivated me because of the clinical significance of heart disease and my curiosity on where this project could go in the future. Some of our findings were very interesting and I enjoyed the process of experimenting and analyzing various mouse injury models. It made me really think critically of the work that I was doing and how I can improve upon some of the experiments that I was conducting in the lab.
One important aspect of research that I learned over the course of the summer was how important it is to stay patient. At the start of the summer, I had some experiences where I became frustrated with the experiments that I was conducting. When those experiments did not go as planned, I learned that instead of being frustrated I must be patient. I became better at troubleshooting my own errors and figuring out how I can approach a certain issue better the next time I do it. I believe this was crucial to my progression as a researcher over the summer.
The most valuable thing about the Brackenridge experience was the diversity in terms of projects and individuals that made our weekly meetings very engaging and a great learning opportunity. I found it very interesting to learn about projects that were outside my discipline of basic sciences. It really helped me to focus on my own project and learn from others on how they portray their work to a general audience. Also, there were many projects in my own discipline that I found to be engaging as well. It was striking to see how some projects in the basic sciences used similar experimental methods as my project.
With the Brackenridge Fellowship coming to an end, my goal is to continue with this project. I intend to gather and analyze more data over the next few months for my project with the intention to publish the following year. In terms of long-term goals, I plan on applying to medical school next year and continuing to conduct research during my gap year. I hope to take what I learned from the Brackenridge Fellowship and apply it to my career as a future physician.
Lastly, I want to thank my mentor Dr. Ruya Liu for all of her support while working on this project. It really helped me transition into a better researcher and I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to continue this project during me senior year.