Caroline Beneville ’20 served an internship at NYU’s Center for Genomics & Systems Biology that was supported by Lafayette’s Bossak/Heilbron Internship Fund thanks to the support of donors arranged by the Office of Career Services. She writes about her experience.
I learned a lot at my internship. I did cancer research, studying to see the effects of oxygen on EMT (epithelial-mesenchymal transition). To do this, I cultured different types of cancer cells and put them in what we call a MEMIC. It basically creates an oxygen gradient so that some cells get more oxygen and some get less. Then I stained the cells with different antibodies so that epithelial cells are tagged in one color and mesenchymal cells are tagged in another. I looked to see whether oxygen deprivation might cause cells to transition from the epithelial state to the mesenchymal state.
My favorite part of the internship was how much I have learned about experimental design and the biological processes involved in EMT. My first week, the principal investigator of the lab, Carlos Carmona-Fontaine, took the time to explain why each step in the experiment was done. I was also given the freedom to change things if I had different ideas or to design completely new experiments.
This experience helped me decide that I would like to pursue a career in medicine and hopefully attend medical school after graduating from Lafayette. Without the stipend, I would not have been able to afford to commute in and out of New York City (about $40 a day) and take part in this pivotal research.