Samir Maarouf, SEAS ’24, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Over the course of my summer, I had the opportunity to continue doing research at my Hematology research lab in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Prior to this experience, I was already familiar with this lab, however, this summer I really got the chance to dive deep into my research and develop proper relationships with my colleagues.
I embarked on my journey by enrolling in a mouse and rat training program, enabling me to autonomously work with our lab’s rodents. Over a span of two weeks, I attended online lectures and underwent hands-on training at the Department of Veterinary Resources. Despite initial apprehensions about working with live animals, the entire process proved to be remarkably gratifying, fostering a profound appreciation for the creatures residing within these research facilities. My skill set expanded to encompass tasks such as weaning pups, extracting blood, and safely harvesting a mouse’s internal lining.
Following the completion of my training, I rejoined my lab and resumed participation in routine experiments as an integral member of the research team. My responsibilities encompassed diverse investigations, including genetic genotyping, micro-sectioning organs, harvesting bacteria, and culturing cells from human blood samples. Investing over half my summer into this research experience challenged me to learn the foundations of academic research and the intricate process involved in substantiating claims presented within research papers.
Apart from my wet-lab skills, I also gained an immense amount of experience in data analysis and managing long-scaled investigations. Every Thursday afternoon, our lab team would meet up do discuss ongoing investigations and future plans based on the results of our experiments. These collaborative sessions proved pivotal in clarifying the rationale behind our decisions and underscoring the uniqueness of our research. Attending these meeting also made me feel like I was a part of the team and others valued my opinion. To others who feel like they are getting lost in their research, I would highly advise updating your mentors on your current standing and as they are always eager to help and keep you in the loop.
Moving forward, I plan to continue doing hematology research with my lab and I hope to learn more about the academic writing that goes into describing one’s investigations. Of course, I would like to express my appreciation to my mentors Dr. Kandace Gollomp, Nate Levine and to my colleagues Veronica Bochenek, Ahn Ngo, and Abby Skidmore.
This is part of a series of posts by recipients of the 2023 Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they spent their summer. You can read the entire series here.