Week 1: Hello Penn!
Hello everyone! :)
My name is Lindsay, and I'm a rising senior in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. I'm originally from Warwick, NY (right between New York City and Binghamton), but I'm spending the next 10 weeks in Philadelphia, PA, doing research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. I'm here at Penn through the Undergraduate Student Scholars Program (USSP) in the NIH Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases at the Perelman School of Medicine, which is "an organized program of summer lectures and presentations combined with basic research experience in the laboratory of an expert investigator."
This summer, I will be working in a lab that combines microbiology, immunology and pathobiology to study the innate immune response (and lack thereof) to certain strains of bacteria.
(Me, at the building that houses my program!)
This week was mostly about getting adjusted to a new city, a new university and a new lab, but I have done some interesting things too! On Sunday, I moved into my summer housing, which is a 4-bedroom apartment in a 24 floor high-rise dorm on the Penn campus, and needless to say, it is VERY different from Ithaca! I have also done some exploring of the Penn campus and Philadelphia, as well as making friends with the other interns and some of my neighbors in my dorm.
(The view from my room at night. I told you it was different from Ithaca!)
(Penn is GORGES too!!)
USSP had our orientation on Monday morning, and it was very interesting to meet the other participants. There are 14 of us, and we were selected from a pool of over 600 applications! We are all interested in biomedical research, but we have varying career aspirations that include MD, MD/PhD, PhD and engineering! I also met the other members of my lab, which includes my PI (a professor here at Penn), a postdoc, 2 graduate students and a research technician. I also got acquainted with the lab space and the varying projects going on in the lab, and I have been reading lots and lots of papers to give me some background on microbial immunology. I also started doing some prep work for my project, including bacterial DNA extractions, PCR, DNA purification and cleaning and gel electrophoresis.
On Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend a symposium with my lab and some of the other interns. The symposium was at the Constitution Center, which is in a part of Philadelphia known as "Old City", and it was hosted by the NIH Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases. It was titled "IBD, Genomics and the Intestinal/Mucosal Interface", and it featured speakers from many different medical schools talking about their research. It was extremely interesting, and I learned so much in just a few hours!
(My program and name tag from the symposium. I felt so official!)
In the coming weeks, I will be jumping headfirst into my project, as well as attending 2 lectures a week for USSP on topics relating to biomedical research. Several of the professors that are associated with the NIH center will be giving talks about their work, and we will also be learning about bioethics. I also hope to explore Philadelphia more and see all the tourist-y things that the city has to offer!
This is shaping up to be a very exciting and interesting summer, and I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences with you! :)