Furthering Progress

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Zebrafish Microinjection Setup

This summer I was fortunate enough to work in the Shah lab in Hematology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The hospitals and research buildings are some of the best in the world and contain the premiere minds in the medical field. This internship has shown me that medical research is a field that requires a great deal of stamina and constant curiosity. It requires passion and an immense amount of perseverance. I was able to attend a talk from one of the leading scientists in zebrafish research whose lab solved a genetic mystery that has alluded the field for 25 years.

The Shah lab investigates hematopoietic stem cells that emerge from blood vessels and the factors regulating this process. This research was very much in line with my aspirations of bettering those around me. There is a critical need to find a method to generate hematopoietic stem cells from patient-derived tissues due to the difficulty in finding HLA-matched donors and immunological complications if a match is found. The thought of helping millions of people with my finding pushes me to get out of bed everyday and try to find answers to the scientific problems we are faced with. I want to continue this quest for answers with profession as I hope to pursue an MD/PhD program. This option allows me to fulfill my passion for medicine as I can work interacting with and treating my patients while researching to hopefully help millions more people.

My internship this summer has been an invaluable experience to propel me toward my goals as a research physician. It was exciting to work with some of the most brilliant minds in the scientific community. This experience has provided me with a glimpse of a career that would be both fun and rewarding.

Written by Caitlyn Curley, BC Class of 2017

 

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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