Teena Bajaj Summer 2016 Blog

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Summers 2016 was an exotic experience narrating unforgettable moments spent in San Francisco, California. I saw various aspects of life which never came in my life before. I should thank God for giving me such a wonderful opportunity to work with an eminent scientist, John Kuriyan at University of California, Berkeley.

My research in his lab was a nice blend of wet and dry lab work. The goal of project is to studying the relative rates of autophosphorylation of individual tyrosine residues in Her4 C-terminal tail. I also studied the conservation of sequence of EGFR IV domain in different species. This internship taught me what is science and how to do science. Defining the aim of the project is only a small chunk of science. It doesn’t accounts for the reasons behind it. The aim of the project should be understood with deep thoughts of “Why?” One should ask why are we trying to do this? What should we expect to learn from it and how significant will it be to the scientific world. Asking these questions made me learn find out important reasons for this “Why?” Asking a question and finding its answer is one of the very important aspect of doing science.

In this internship, I also learned to read papers and think critically about them to find out the questions for the projects. I learned to design and set up experiments. Exposure to new techniques like Flow cytometry and Dot Blot was amazing made me skillful in research. Obtaining results and interpreting them is really important in science. However, presenting or communicating the scientific community. Besides learning how to do science; I also enriched and upgraded myself professionally by attending weekly lab meetings, journal clubs and presenting my work. Undoubtedly, this international internship has impacted my resume significantly in positive manner.

My summer experience was not only professionally enriching, but also full of surprises, with a combination of happiness and sorrows. I got a big surprise when I just stepped ahead for US. My economy seat in flight was upgraded to Business class. I was just wondering “How?” and it was one of those “Wow!” moments. I am sure it was my fortune to experience realxed journey in an expensive business class. Personally, I knew that living in new place have been always difficult for me, physically as well as emotionally, but this experience taught me that everything falls into its place with time. We need to give some time to understand new culture, new place and new people. And then slowly and gradually, we become part of that mass.

San Francisco is a beautiful city with pleasant weather. There are many attractive tourists places to enjoy like Twin peaks, Golden Gate Bridge, Union Square, and Golden Gate Park was a part of my daily life for evening walk. Living in California city is not easy, getting out from our own culture and adapting to another culture is very challenging. But, becoming a part of new exciting research world and my motivation to pursue and chase my dreams motivated to overcome these challenges.

In the end, I got a chance to share my research experience with other distinguished faculties in same field. Working in a prestigious and top university of US with Khorana fellowship made me proud of myself. I really don’t have clicks posing in my lab, but I have all those memories in my heart which I enjoyed working there. So, I am coming home with a positive note and full of exciting opes for my graduate career.

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