A lot of the people at Hopkins this summer are taking classes, but I have been working in Dr. Wirtz’s Lab in the Center for Oncology in Engineering. It has been a lot of fun working in this lab. I’ve learned a lot too! So, if my research work was a semester of school, these would be the classes:
I’ve learned so much about cells in my five weeks here. I learned how to pass, plate, and fix and stain. I’ve learned all about the cell- I can even give a tour of it! I’ve gotten to use some really interesting tools, including a very expensive microscope and a pipette that you just press a button and you get the exact amount you wanted. It’s really awesome. That’s one of the great things about research at Hopkins. My friend who’s here for a REU from another university said that she doesn’t want to go back to her school because we have great resources here to work on projects.
What is Cancer?
I’ve learned a lot about what cancer is. My research project is finding physical markers in cancer cells to see if we can better diagnose cancer. My lab also has semi-weekly meetings where I get to learn all about other people’s projects; it’s really cool. I’ve become more attuned to cancer articles as well. I actually read this really interesting article the other day about how fasting before chemotherapy may help lessen the side effects.
The Art of Microscopy Photography
One of my favorite things to do is to take pictures on this very high-tech microscope. It takes a lot of work to get the picture, but the pictures are really clear and super interesting. I even found a heart shaped cell once!
When I entered the lab, I saw all this crazy letters. I didn’t know what anything stood for, so it all looked like Greek to me. Luckily, my grad student is very helpful in giving me the answer to these codes. Wikipedia is super helpful as well.
Tetris Addiction 101
On a less serious note, I also learned how addicting tetris is from one of my friends at lab. I learned the terminology: hard drop, soft trap, and T-spin. I actually learned that you can actually get addicted to tetris because the game increases your brain’s consumption of glucose. Weird, huh?
But, like Hopkins, my favorite part of this experience is the people. I really like my co-workers and Dr. Wirtz is a really great professor. He always comes around the lab to see how we are doing. When I did research at another school, I didn’t even see the professor once! The grad students are really nice as well; I fist bump one of them every time I see. Everyone was really welcoming into the lab and I am super grateful for that.
Research definitely is a big part of Hopkins as over 75% of students do get involved in some shape or form during their time here. Since there is such awesome research going on, we have a lot of opportunities to get involved. When I was talking to my friend from another university in the lab, he said that it is very difficult to get into labs at his home school and that only 10-15 kids per major will be involved. I am very happy to be at a university that allows me to get involved with this interesting research.
Eureka! I think I found it!