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Internship Field: Biology, Medical Research, Materials Science

Major: Materials Science & Engineering

Host: Leibniz-Institut für Neue Materialien gGmbH (INM)

Location: Saarbrücken

Duration: 3 months in summer of 2015


Description: "I was a member of a research group, called Innovative Electron Microscopy. The group focuses on liquid Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) and Tunneling Electron Microscopy TEM, which is difficult because the chamber must maintain a vacuum. My project involved breast cancer research using these techniques. I was responsible for maintaining a cell culture with a breast cancer cell line, which required me to learn to work in a sterile environment. I then labeled the cells with quantum dots and observed them using environmental SEM.

The goal of my experiments was to learn more about the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which is present in aggressive forms of breast cancer and allows cell proliferation and tumor growth. I was working with a doctoral student who noticed a trend in the orientation of these receptors, and my task was to examine this trend using a different cell line. We spent the last month of the summer doing data analysis and working on a paper, which I am continuing to help with from the home campus."

Comments: "The techniques in biological research that I used were mostly unfamiliar to me, and I was uncomfortable at first. As I practiced, I felt a lot better at working in the lab, and now I feel that my experience would add a lot to other research groups. These techniques will be good additions to an application and to research in the future, and the experience confirmed my desire to get a PhD. Also, Saarbrücken was very different than Berlin, and I really enjoyed living there."

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