CURF – Becoming a Researcher

Hello everyone! In this blog post, I will discuss my journey in research and how I joined the Ramakrishnan Lab in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. As I had mentioned in my last blog post, my interest in athletics led me to investigate various nutritional diets in order to optimize my performance. Through this I was exposed to the ketogenic diet and was immediately fascinated by it. I wanted to learn more about the biochemical underpinnings of nutritional diets. After searching through the breadth of research opportunities available at the University of Pittsburgh, I came across Dr. Sadeesh Ramakrishnan’s research on ketogenesis and its impact on various pathologies, such as fatty liver disease and type 2 diabetes. After reaching out to Dr. Ramakrishnan, I was able to join the lab as a student researcher. I was captivated by Dr. Ramakrishnan’s work because of his emphasis on molecular pathways and how various proteins are involved in ketogenesis. 

In the past year, I have found the Ramakrishnan lab to be an environment where I have the opportunity to further understand the scientific intricacies of the ketogenic diet. My first day at the lab was a combination of anticipation and excitement. After a warm welcome from the lab team and a briefing on lab safety, I was immediately introduced to the hands-on aspect of biomedical research by learning how to conduct Western blotting, a lab technique used to identify protein expression. Initially, I was a bit nervous as I did not want to mess up the experiments. However, as I spent more time practicing, I became more comfortable with the lab techniques. The support and instruction from the lab team allowed me to rapidly contribute to the ongoing research projects and be an effective member.

For those who are considering embarking on their own research journey, my advice would be to first have a thorough reflection of your interests. Through my experience at Ramakrishnan Lab, I have found that engaging in research that resonates with your passions and curiosity is very rewarding. It fuels your desire to learn as much as you can and propels you to spend as much time as you can in the lab, motivating you to be an active contributor.

My involvement with Ramakrishnan lab aligns with my aspiration of becoming a physician by providing me with the opportunity to delve deeper into understanding biochemical processes of nutrition and metabolism. I aspire to focus on promoting healthier lifestyles and nutritional choices to individuals, and I am proud to say that my involvement in my research project has enhanced my understanding of these areas, allowing me to be a stronger advocate for the patient.

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