Working for IDRI this summer has really helped me learn more about real world lab work. Taking lab classes is great, you learn a lot, but even so they don’t compare to the learning experience of working in a lab like IDRI’s.
Like learning a new board game, you only really “get it” once you start playing the real game. This internship has felt a lot like the real thing. It doesn’t hurt that the professionals here are eager to help and are some of the best scientists I’ve worked with.
This summer, I mainly focused on assay development for the tuberculosis drug discovery group. After development, we are planning on implementing this assay to test over 150,000 potential drugs. Early in the summer, I learned more about protein expression and purification, a key tool in any lab position going forward. I also got more acquainted with lab hardware like the Fast Protein Liquid Chromatography (FPLC) and various plate readers.
I learned most about assay development, naturally, as I spent most of my time on this. Learning the nuances of controls, different independent variables and, most importantly trouble-shooting, has better prepared me for a future in the sciences. Assay development is tough and can be frustrating at times (especially when commercial products don’t work as expected), but the experience was well worth the effort.
I’m excited to implement the knowledge I’ve gained this summer at school and beyond, whether that be a PhD or MD program.