This summer, I had the privilege of working under Dr. Rotonya Carr and Jason Correnti, PhD. within the gastrointestinal (GI) division of the Perelman School of Medicine, studying the effects of alcohol on the liver. My project, in particular, focused on a specific sort of fat called ceramide and the relationship between its accumulation within the liver and alcohol consumption by using a mouse model. Between daily feedings and consumption recording of the mice, I also had the opportunity to perform various biological assays, genotyping protocols, and data analysis. Since our lab was one of many on the floor, I was also encouraged to interact with many other undergraduates from different universities; I even had the chance to sit in on their biweekly seminars, which fleshed out topics such as microscopy, gut environment, and functional genomics.
One of the most important ways that my research contributed to my overall experience was getting to see concepts taught in class being performed in real life. For example, I vividly remember learning about genotyping in my BIOL102 class, but being able to perform the various aspects of genotyping to determine mouse genotype within my lab was an eye-opening and wholly unique experience I would've never had if I had only read it from a textbook or learned in class. Another aspect of the project that contributed to my educational experience was simply the interactions I had with—not only—the lab members but also people from other labs. I learned how the GI division is simultaneously many labs yet also "one division" through encouraged collaboration and teamwork.
Overall, I believe that my PURM research project greatly contributed to my educational experience in university. Though I still have much time in university, my research has helped open up many doors, not only for medical school but also for graduate school options.