The Experience of A STEM Pathways Researcher
Undergraduate in Biomedical Engineering at Boston University
Experience during Junior Year (3rd Year)
Written April 30, 2018
"Working with the DAMP Lab at Boston University was an exceptional experience, both socially and professionally. I was immediately welcomed into the CIDAR and DAMP community, and began wet lab training the weekend after I was hired. With their detailed explanations and hands-on lessons, I quickly assimilated to the Aquarium protocols, and they took my opinions on lab matters, despite this experience being my first real introduction into synthetic biology. Despite only working about 10 hours a week, everyone at DAMP Lab and CIDAR kindly included me in occasional meetings and info sessions in order to experience university research first-hand.
All of the staff members were working on their own specific projects that I assisted them on. I started with E.coli transformations, noting all my procedures in my lab notebook, then moved on to T4 DNA ligations, and eventually worked with PCR, rehydrating primers, modular cloning, agarose gel running, and Gibson assembly as Aquarium's protocols became more streamlined. More specifically, I assisted in autoclaving the lab materials (pipette tips, distilled water, Eppendorf tubes, and cell culturing media). Regarding culture media, I assisted in preparing large quantities, specifically with the necessary antibiotics for the different experiments.
In the last two months, Mary Pavan, DAMP Lab manager, offered to place me in a summer research opportunity with Nick Emery (who would become my mentor), looking to design cellular circuits using a software known as CELLO. This began with designing specific primers for DNA sequences recommended by the original paper on CELLO, which required ordering large amounts of primers, which needed to be rehydrated and multiplied by PCR before usage. I took part in the latter, and did not have a chance to continue further, due to the end of the academic semester.
I appreciated all my time at DAMP Lab at Boston University, and although I will not be able to work with them this summer, I was kindly invited back. This yet another example of the welcoming community here at DAMP Lab, and I look forward to the chance at working here again, should the opportunity arise."