Witnessing science in action
This summer, I had the honor of partaking in a stem cell research program in California to learn the basic techniques used in the lab and about the nature of stem cells. During the program, I met other students with interests like mine and participated in hands-on activities. I had the privilege to learn from experienced mentors who had lots of knowledge and experience to share with us.
Each day was productive and consisted of a morning lecture, two classes of lab work, and a guest speaker or concluding lecture. Armed with PPE, we entered the lab ready to learn. As a team, we performed lab safety and aseptic technique, worked with stem cells, set up a migration assay for cancer stem cells, and isolated neural stem cells. In addition, we learned how to extract human pluripotent stem cells by shocking the connective tissue cells and detect hybridoma supernatant for antibodies by immunocytochemistry.
We followed the scientific method while analyzing data and making conclusions. Throughout the experience, I learned so many things and was introduced to a variety of scientific tools such as pipettes, centrifuges, incubators, biosafety cabinets, and dissecting microscopes.
It was so fascinating to see how the morning lectures came to life in the lab. The diagrams and visualizations on the PowerPoint were 3D and right in front of us! My peers and I were directing and executing the same techniques that many great researchers have used and continue to use. We were very fortunate to have the ability to witness science in action.
Time at camp seemed to fly by, and soon it was over. During this bittersweet moment, we said our goodbyes and thanked our mentors for sharing with us the wonders of ever-changing science. Overall, this was a great learning experience, and I would recommend it to anyone interested in a career in science. It's also a great way to meet people and gain experience that you wouldn’t gain elsewhere.
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