Babli Adhikary Summer 2019 Blog

“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”

― Roy T. Bennett

Yes friends, we should always choose wisely, and I am happy I did. Being a Khorana scholar was a lifetime experience which I am going to cherish for the rest of my whole life. It was the month of January this year when I started pondering my brain to decide which of the opportunities I had for my internship is going to be the best. I was very confused. After a long time, I made a conscious decision and choose to be a part of Khorana program and do my internship in Prof. Adam martin’s lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Now, I can say it was the best I could have ever asked for. I was terrified, excited, proud, happy and what not to go to United States as my first foreign trip. Actually I was having a soup of mixed feelings.

Finally I landed on the Boston Logan airport on 11th May midnight. Coming from Mumbai I was not used to so much of silence and emptiness. I took a cab and went to my residence, it was a safe trip to a cosy bed. The next day I was nervous and very excited to go to MIT and meet my mentor. The moment I saw the great dome of MIT I was all pumped up, felt proud and couldn’t thank IUSSTF to give me this wonderful opportunity. Cutting my story short, those two and half months were one of the best part in my life. I worked on the aspect of science I enjoy. I made great friends, got to know different cultures, and learnt a lot.

Working in Prof. Adam’s lab was enlightening and gave me a new perspective to do science. The whole lab was very friendly and in a few weeks’ time I was well settled, doing my experiments and having fun. All the lab members were supporting me all the time and helped me whenever I was in a trouble. My project began with a simple broad question. We know that multicellular organism originate from a single cell. To acquire its final form and function, it needs to undergo a myriad of mechanical transformation. Epithelial cells in embryo have polarized actomyosin structures acting as ropes to generate contractile forces for certain tissue specific behaviour. I was focused on understanding the dynamicity involved in actin networks to undergo desired tissue transformation during Drosophila embryogenesis..

My mentor always motivated me and helped me design experiments, taught me necessary the laboratory skills. The hours of discussion I had with him were very fruitful and scientifically enriched. Apart of science, I had a great time with my lab pals. One of the most exciting part was the camping and hiking trip. It was my first time doing a hike but they were more supportive than I could have ever imagined. Sleeping in the tent with sounds of thunderstorm was indeed very thrilling.

During my trip I got the opportunity to meet Prof. Uttam Raj Bhandary, a close friend and colleague of Prof. Khorana. To listen to him speak about his experiences and stories made my day. We went on a lunch with him along with previous Khorana and S.N Bose scholars. Being a part of MSRP (MIT summer research program), I was elevated to meet great people in science like Prof. Squire Booker as well as number of talented students from all different background and countries. We shared so much of culture and knowledge, I can’t explain it all in words. I would take this opportunity to thank Dr. Mandana Sassanfar, MIT outreach manager, and a wonderful woman who helped me a lot during my whole stay.

Living in Boston was amazing. Boston being a walkable city made it convenient for me to explore. I got the opportunity to visit Harvard University, Natural museum of Fine Arts and many other places. Just in case you are a foodie and you got a chance to visit Boston do hop in these amazing eatery places like Summer Shack for Lip licking Lobsters, cannoli in Mike’s pastry, lobster tail in modern pastry and much more. Boston has lots to offer and it was fun living in such a happening and wonderful city. I took out some time to meet my old college friends who live in and around Boston. Whenever I got time in weekends I used to visit to different places alone or with my friends. My fellow scholars were like my support, and by the end of the trip some of us have become so good friends.

Those two and half months not only made me scientifically enlightenment, but gave me more reasons to pursue science, it taught me to live a different way of life, to be independent. I absorbed a lot of knowledge and culture from all the wonderful people I met on this trip. It was an extraordinary experience which filled my bag of lifelong memories. I am thankful to everyone who was a part of my experience and made it so memorable.

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