This summer we’re sponsoring high school interns in stem cell labs throughout California. We asked those students to contribute to our Instagram photos and YouTube videos about life in the lab, and write about their experiences.
Ann Liu worked in the lab of Bruce Torbett at Scripps Research Institute.
|Ann Liu practicing pipetting. She submitted this photo through Instagram to CIRM’s #CIRMStemCellLab collection.|
It is the summer before my senior year in high school – in my opinion, one of the most important summers of my life. Prepping for college applications, trying to get at least a vague idea of what I want to do for the rest of my life, attempting to answer all these questions of “what is your dream college” and “what do you want to major in” and “do you want to be a doctor”.
This internship has helped me to learn not only more about my interests in the future, but also about stem cells and the process of scientific research. I’ve practiced various techniques, including cell culture, flow cytometry, and DNA purification, and through this practice, I’ve learned that it is important not only to follow procedures carefully and precisely, but also to understand why each step is being performed. I have learned to question my actions – why am I adding this buffer, and what do these three letters mean? What will happen if I incubate the cells for 10 minutes instead of 5 minutes? Is there a reason why I have to keep this protein in the dark?
One of the most interesting and surprising things that I discovered during these past 6 weeks is that sometimes, when I have a question, I can’t find the answer in a paper, a textbook, or even online. The topics that I am learning about in the lab are so new that there is still very little information out there available to the general public; I need to go straight to my mentor or the PI to get my questions answered. There is still so much about stem cells that is yet undiscovered and not understood.
After I finish my internship at the Scripps Research Institute and leave the lab, I hope to take with me a more inquisitive mind and a drive to find more opportunities to continue doing research.
Ann sent us this video about her experience: