Hi this is Karli Rasmussen again checking in for my third blog. I was waiting to post my last blog until I had finished my internship, which was supposed to be over in early September. But, in a very unexpected way, my research advisor and Professor was very happy with my results and wanted me to continue on for a couple more weeks. As I explained before, I am working with in situ hybridization, which is a way of mapping where certain genes are expressed. The genes we are interested in are HoxA genes, which are known for mapping sites for unique development, often in developing fins and limbs. The project I have been working on this summer was directly related to a project another student had completed earlier in the summer in the same lab. In his project, he was placing blue-banded Goby embryos in various treatments and analyzing the effects on their development, in regions that were assumed to be under HoxA11a and HoxA13a expression. My experiment utilized these same embryos after he scored their phenotypic differences and utilized molecular biology techniques to analyze whether gene expression in these regions were altered. From the first successful trial of the experiment, it was determined that there was definitely an alteration to both HoxA11a and HoxA13a expression. While these results were expected, the clarity of results was much better than we could have hoped for. In the next week and a half, I will be repeating the experiment again. If we see the same results, she wants to move forward with publishing the results and making me the author of the paper! I really did not expect this going into the summer and could not be happier with the outcome from my work this summer.
Advice I have for anyone looking for summer internships: start looking early and don’t be afraid to talk to people about it! I never would have found this experience if I hadn’t emailed random lab advisors that I was interested in working with. Often people are much more receptive to helping students than I ever thought they would be. Especially in the sciences, I have found professors and other scientists really want the younger generations to succeed. Even if someone doesn’t have exactly what you are looking for, they might have connections that align more closely! So never hesitate to reach out.
And onto the next steps for me, working in this lab–on top of past research experiences with Skidmore–gave me the skill set and knowledge in order to land a full time job in a biotech start up around San Francisco. I will be starting in October, when I completely finish up with my extended summer work. Each new experience such as this one has only allowed me to transition from a student into a scientist and I am so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you to all the donors who made this possible!