The Midway Point Between Bench and Bedside


Translational research, or “bench-to-bedside,” is a branch of research in the biomedical field in which scientific findings are directly used to improve patient care. This summer, I am working in preclinical research on thyroid cancer, kind of in a halfway point between basic research (bench) and clinical application (bedside).

As a research intern at the Center for Vascular Biology Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) I am working in the lab to develop therapeutic strategies that can help improve outcomes for cancer patients. In this type of preclinical research, we test cancer drugs before they are used on patients in clinical trials.

Because I have already spent a semester as an intern in the lab, coming back for the summer was a seamless transition. This is a great opportunity because I am able to expand upon the work I did during the semester and fully immerse myself in full time research at BIDMC. So far, my days have been filled with lab meetings, designing and performing experiments, and lots and lots of reading of scientific papers!

Even though my internship is definitely intensive and challenging, my BC education has definitely given me the skill set to excel in the lab. Here are just a few invaluable things that BC has taught me:

  1. Rigorous coursework in the sciences. BC has provided me with the science background and lab skills I need to excel in a research environment. Through biology and chemistry lab classes, I have not only acquired basic lab skills, but also the ability to write research papers and give presentations.
  2. Critical thinking. The liberal arts education and humanities classes that I have taken through the MCAS Honors Program have definitely provided me with an edge in the workplace. Research is never black and white and being able to thinking critically and solve problems is so important! Even in meetings, it’s helpful because I am able to speak up about my own ideas.
  3. Perseverance. Frequently, something will go unpredictably during an experiment and many times, a lot of troubleshooting will be needed. When you spend a long time designing and carrying out an experiment, sometimes it doesn’t work out. I found perseverance to be the most important quality to have.

Written by Emily Ye, BC Class of 2018