Molecular Cloning in Translational Research

April Ng, COL ’24, San Francisco, CA

Returning to the Barash and Hand (Rader) Lab for a second summer has been a wonderful and worthwhile experience! I was able to continue developing my molecular cloning wet lab techniques and further my relationships with the principal investigator, postdoctoral fellow, and research specialist. As I assisted them with their projects and worked mostly independently, I gained a much clearer understanding of the bigger picture and the reason behind each step in the overall process. I was able to improve my skills on mammalian cell culture and transfections, all the way to flow cytometry and high-throughput sequencing. I enjoyed the start-to-finish aspect of working here throughout the past two summers, and I was continuously learning something new everyday. This lab has provided me with plenty of knowledge and support needed to start my independent project this upcoming year. 

This summer, we also had two new undergraduates join our lab. I was given the opportunity to take on a mentorship role where I guided them throughout cloning processes and supervised their work. These two individuals have quickly become some of my closest friends, and it was a pleasure working with them this summer. I mentored them through running their first gels, digestions and PCRs, tissue culturing, and more. Having the opportunity to explain protocols and processes further consolidated my own understanding of them. 

I also attended lab meetings for the dry lab side. The other undergraduates and I were able to practice analyzing scientific papers and presenting summaries and explanations of the research to the group. I found this to be a nervewracking, yet essential experience as it taught me better ways to understand and relay scientific concepts. 

Overall, I’m extremely grateful for Career Services for assisting me in my decision to stay at Penn for the summer, working alongside some of the best mentors and individuals. I will take all the research and leadership experience with me and apply it to my future work. Thank you!

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

By Career Services
Career Services