Hello, my name is Marina Martínez and I’m currently a senior majoring in Bioengineering. I am working with Dr. Nitin Agrawal and his PhD. student Steven Roberts in the Microfluidic Single Cell Analysis Laboratory in Engineering (µ-SCALE), located at Krasnow Institute of Advanced Studies. I am studying the influence of osmolarity on epithelial cell phenotype.
On a weekly basis I attend Dr. Agrawal’s lab meetings, where we discuss our projects individually. By this manner I do not just restrict all my knowledge just in my project, I actually get to know all the different studies running in the lab. Besides this, I read scientific papers to familiarize with the field and better understand all the biological processes happening at cellular level regarding my research. Reading and listening to other peoples’ studies have habituated me to the most technical words in my field, which is an essential aspect for my professional future. Moreover, planning the timeline, as well as designing the approach, overcoming difficulties during the experiments, etcetera, have made me become more independent, skillful and confident. Throughout the project I am also experiencing how team work is and I am learning a lot of lab procedures such as immunofluorescence, cell culture or how to analyze scientific data. In brief, I am learning more than I thought I would and this is a big first step into the scientific community.
OSCAR and its Undergraduate Research Scholar Program (URSP) have given me the huge opportunity of experiencing how working in a lab feels. I love the atmosphere in laboratories and I know that working in one of them is my main intention. Because of that, being part of the URSP program this summer is a step forward to my desired future. I am an exchange student from Spain at GMU, and in my country it is not possible to do an internship with any professor while you are in college. Therefore, being part of this program has meant for me much more than carrying out an idea; it meant achieving a goal that would have been impossible to reach back in my country.