My First Research Experience

When I was first offered this internship I was beyond ecstatic, I could not believe I was given an opportunity to do hands on research in the lab. A few weeks before the internship began, my soon to be mentor sent me a few articles to read so I was up to speed with the whole project. After the first paragraph of one of the articles I was already intimidated. I have never read anything so scientific, nor anything that went into such detail about nanopores. There was a lot of phrases that I did not understand and words that I could not pronounce. Now I was beginning to think that I was way in over my head. Luckily, on my first day, we were told that we are here to merely learn and that we are not expected to know everything. Then, I met my mentor. I was still nervous and very intimidated from the articles I read and the description he provided on what we would be doing. Also, my mentor is a post-doc researcher, meaning he already has his PhD and that was another intimidating factor because I was thinking I would not communicate with him well. However, my mentor happens to be an awesome person. He converted everything into a language that I could understand, walked me through everything multiple times, and still does just so I could understand what was going on. My intimidation was no longer there.

The first week was rough because it was so much information you had to try to process. On top of that I met my faculty advisor for the first time. This man is not only a PhD graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T), but he holds four patents from Intel. It was rather intimidating listening to him and my mentor talk about the project. The next two weeks were a lot easier. I learned how the lab runs, how to run tests, how to put together the conductivity cell, how to make certain solutions that we needed, and a lot of other things. The one thing that I do know for a fact is, I still have a lot more things to learn. My project is to help create a biomimetic device to restore lost vision to the blind. When I first realized what my project was based on, I though it was an amazing idea. In this device you need a membrane that is selective to a specific ion in order for the whole device to work successfully. That is what I am focusing on this summer. I am trying to help my mentor create a Potassium (K+) selective ion channel within a membrane. I will get into more detail on what it is I did this summer in my next blog.