CURF 2 – My History and Connection with Research

Hello everyone! In this post, I will talk about how I became interested in research and connected with Dr. Dutta and his lab. I will also be addressing some advice to give to new students looking to conduct research. Finally, I will be addressing some of the professional goals I have and how my research will help me on this path of mine. 

To begin, I became interested in research through high school labs. In chemistry and biology labs, I loved the processes we used and wanted to continue this into college, in terms of seeing the real-world implications of these. I became interested in the analysis parts of the research where I would get to see how the methods used in research would make it possible to get specific results, such as using methods like qPCR, ELISA, Illumina sequencing, etc. I met Dr. Dutta and Dr. Uddin through emails to the UPMC cardiology department. I joined the lab in October 2021. I initially met Dr. Florentin, who was my previous supervisor before Dr. Uddin. The work that the Dutta lab does is related to inflammation in the cardiac and pulmonary systems. These are the areas of research I am interested in and because of this, I was drawn to the Dutta lab. Currently, in the lab, we are beginning to test out and confirm sequences to see whether our primers are working correctly before the main experiment begins. 

Some advice I would give to new students looking to conduct research is to try to contact as many labs as possible at the beginning of the school year, or even in the summer if you want to get ahead. This would maximize your chances to get into labs early on and establish connections to allow for research. I would also recommend looking into the prior research of the lab so that when you get to the first meeting, you show the lab investigator that you care about the research that the lab does. After this, learning some basic techniques such as PCR will follow. Going off of this, a student can conduct their own research with the guidance of the supervisor, or assist the lab supervisor in their research to get a better understanding of the science behind what the lab is doing.

In terms of my professional goals, I aim to be a cardiologist through internal medicine. While research is not directly related to this future of mine, I believe that my research will assist me in my journey toward becoming a cardiologist. This is because research helps to establish scientific concepts learned in classes but in a real-world setting. I get to see how the concepts I learn in class apply to my understanding which I can use to further know how systems of the body, such as the cardiac and pulmonary systems, work. In essence, I believe that having lab experience will allow me to get a better understanding of class material, which will assist me in my journey to becoming a cardiologist. To conclude, I believe that having lab experience is a critical component of not just medicine, but any field as it allows you to get real-life experience and applications of the concepts learned in classes throughout college. 

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