Karli Rasmussen (’18) SFSU

Hi everyone, my name is Karli Rasmussen and I am here with blog number 2. I just graduated with the Class of 2018 as a biochemistry major and dance minor and I am spending the summer at San Francisco State University in a research lab in the Biology Department. Before when I had posted I had really just started working in this lab, so didn’t know much about my specific project and goals for the summer. Now, I am just a couple weeks away from the end and I have made great strides in my research work for the summer!

Looks like any other classic biochem or molecular biology lab, but has given me access to so many new techniques and ideas

As I said before, the lab is focused on studying HoxA genes and the evolution and development of fins and limbs, mainly studying the development of the body plan of fish. My specific project for the summer was a branch off some work that past students had conducted in the lab, as well as having a close relationship with a recent project by a student. This specific work was very rewarding because I was able to help this student in the final stages of his work, giving mine so much more context and meaning. The great part of working in an academic lab for the summer is the connection to other students I would not have met if I hadn’t stepped outside of Skidmore and the mentorship that comes with working with another professor. This has been especially helpful, as she has more connections in the San Francisco Bay Area and is allowing me to meet more people. Through this, I have gained a greater understanding of what a career around SF would mean (something I am very interested in pursuing).

But about my specific project itself, I am working on mapping where HoxA11and HoxA13genes are expressed in blue-banded goby embryos. This has mainly consisted on slight alterations to many techniques that I used in Dr. Sheppard’s biochemistry research lab in order to synthesize RNA probes. After creating those, however, it has been weeks of figuring out new procedures and learning how in situhybridization works. This was very different than the research I was used to at Skidmore, which has been a great experience! In this stage in my career, I’m finding that trying out new techniques and expanding my horizons has been very rewarding. It is also helping me narrow my interests for career paths. Now in my last weeks of this internship, I am in the midst of interviews for full time positions. More on that to come with my final blog post for the summer! So far, I am just very grateful for this experience and it has given me another boost in my skills and experiences to talk about with potential future employers.

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