Week 3- Philadelphia Welcomes America!
Hello again :)
I just finished week 3 of my internship, and it was quite an interesting one. I'm starting to settle into the routine of both my internship program and my lab, and I'm also making very good progress on my project.
I'm getting to know my way around Penn pretty well, and I always find interesting and beautiful new things!
(College Hall, one of the oldest and biggest buildings at Penn)
(The LOVE statue is a Philadelphia landmark, and is located on Penn's campus! It was inspired by Philadelphia's nickname: "The City of Brotherly Love")
(Me with a statue of Ben Franklin, who is Penn's founder! The statue, called "Brother Ben on Campus", is of Franklin reading the school newspaper on a bench right in the middle of the campus. Students are encouraged to sit next to Franklin and spend some time with him!)
At work this week, I attended my first lab meeting. Lab meetings are a staple of life in a research lab, where all the lab's members come together and talk about their work in the past week and their plans for the next week. My lab here also has one member present a scientific paper that is relevant to their research project, and the rest of us ask questions and try to understand the paper's implications together. While this week's meeting was just a learning experience for me, I'm hoping to contribute more in the future and maybe even present a paper before the summer is done.
While working on my project this week, I experienced a harsh reality of scientific research: sometimes, despite thorough planning and good execution, things just don't work the way you think they will! I ran into some difficulties with my PCRs, and I had to troubleshoot the reaction mixture over and over again. After several frustrating days, I was finally able to get the product that I needed, which was a great feeling! I will be getting the DNA sequences that I need soon, and I can then start on the next phase of my project.
For my internship program, we had 2 lectures this week. The first came from a researcher in the field of cancer biology, which is an area of very active research and one that Penn is well-known for! She talked to us about the genetics of cancer and new gene therapy treatments that are being developed to more effectively combat the disease. The second came from a professor of gastroenterology who studies inflammatory bowel disease, and who is also a Cornell alumnus! I had some Big Red pride during that lecture! On Wednesday night, the program that sponsors my internship (USSP) sent all of the interns out to dinner at a local restaurant called Copabanana. It was really fun to get to know all of my fellow interns better, as I barely see some of them that work and live in different buildings than I do! We are all working on completely different projects, ranging from using mouse models to study esophageal cancer to using zebrafish to study cirrhosis to using pharmacology to study drug interactions, so it was very cool to learn about what my peers are spending their summers researching.
Outside of the lab, this week marked the start of "Welcome America", an annual Philadelphian festival that runs for 10 days, culminating in a huge celebration on July 4th! On Saturday, I visited the "Super Scooper All-You-Can-Eat Ice Cream Festival" at Penn's Landing, which was quite an experience. It was basically an ice cream buffet, with many different vendors giving out scoops of their most popular ice cream flavors! My favorite was the Mango Water Ice (Philadelphia Water Ices are a summer staple here), with Ben and Jerry's "AmeriCone Dream" coming in a close second :) I'm looking forward to celebrating July 4th in Philadelphia, and I will be sure to fill you in next week!
Bye for now! :)