From the Classroom to the Bench Top

Left image: Male and female zebrafish
Right image: Parabiotic fusion of zebrafish embryos

This summer I have the opportunity to work in the Shah research lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We investigate the origin, development, and differentiation of hematopoietic stems cells to treat patients with leukemia, lymphoma, bone marrow failure syndromes, and other genetic blood disorders. We work with zebrafish, mice, and human induced pluripotent stem cells.

I have received a great deal of knowledge about the scientific method and techniques on top of the information about chemistry, physics, and biological processes that I am able to apply in my internship. In my first weeks in the Shah Lab, I have gained a deeper understanding of the material that I have learned in my classes at BC. My previous lab experiences at Boston College taught me the fundamentals of lab work and have shown me how to utilize the numerous online scientific databases and tools available. These skills that I developed at Boston College have given me an edge on my undergraduate peers in the lab, as I am now autonomous in the lab and am able to plan and execute my own independent research project.

Professors at Boston College encourage students to ask questions in order to gain a better understanding of the material. This confidence in being able to ask questions translates well into the work place, as questions bring about new ideas and spur new directions for projects.

I look forward to seeing my scientific progress and the great opportunities I will experience the rest of the summer.

Written by Caitlyn Curley, BC Class of 2017

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