Wednesday, April 29, 2015

FWS Research Assistant Highlights: Anshuman Mohan

Hello Fellow Patriots! My name is Anshuman Mohan, and I am currently an undergraduate Research Assistant at the National Center of Biodefense and Infectious Diseases at George Mason University. I am currently majoring in Biotechnology and Molecular Biology. During the course of this semester, I have had the honor of working with Dr. Myung Chung, who is a well renowned Research Biochemist at the National Center of Biodefense and Infectious Diseases (NCBID) in Monique Van Hoek's lab. This was my first time working in a BSL-2 laboratory, and I began with little to no experience in working in an biochemistry lab when I began the assistantship. During the course of my research, I have learned many valuable lab techniques such as finding Minimum Inhibitory Concentrations and conducting Biofilm Assays. My main goal and project currently is to study Biofilm formation using different chemicals such as Francisella Novicida; a gram-negative pathogenic bacteria.
On a weekly basis, I try to find out which chemical can inhibit biofilm formation. I also help with the upkeep around the laboratory, by completing any tasks that are needed to maintain a clean and well maintained laboratory; along with organizing and stocking. So, thanks to this RA experience, along with working with Dr.Chung, I have officially learned how to take care of a BSL-2 lab. Which is considered to be a lab that covers working with different agents that could potentially be harmful to people and the environment, which requires a lot of knowledge on how to properly handle any pathogenic procedures or materials.

The project that Dr. Chung and I are working on, is a very dense and a thorough process.  Together, in the the Lopac Chemical Library, Dr. Chung and I try to find which chemical or pathway will inhibit Biofilm formation, among thousand of others. Dr. Chung and I have made a collection of progress in our project and are beginning to see results for a few chemicals that we have narrowed down to.  
I hope to one day work in a BSL-4 lab, a lab with much more dangerous biological threats. For example, Ebola would be studied in a BSL-4 lab. Somebody has to fight these infectious diseases! I would like to do research in order to find cures and study diseases, that currently do not have cures at the moment, such as HIV or Cancer. I also hope to see that my research helps future generations and helps to form more innovative ideas to create cures. Some people have lost complete hope for a cure to their disease, and I have a passion to help cure these people. As long as researchers use their knowledge and abilities for the better health of the world, we may find a cure in the near future with a lot of hard work. Working with Dr. Chung has helped me see many unresolved issues in the medical industry, and has helped me gain a passion to look harder for cures in the lab. I have also been introduced to many innovative thinkers and scholars  throughout this assistant-ship, which have worked to only add to my aspirations and peaking interest.

I have definitely developed a new perspective and gained deeper knowledge through research for current issues in the medical industry. I have learned a lot about a lab, and what it is like to work with a  professional team. Not only has this experience given me knowledge, but it has also made me aware of what to expect after college. This Research Assistant-ship has helped get a good grasp on to the issues in the medical industry, and I have become a part of the conversation. I really enjoyed working in the lab, and it is always great to meet important people, and to get your name out there. The Research Assistant-ship was a wonderful opportunity, and I feel very fortunate to have worked with such a passionate scientist, biochemist, and mentor, Dr. Myung Chung. ​