I asked Shan a few questions about the BLS summer internship she attained through Lancaster University…
Who supervised the internship?
Dr Leonie Unterholzner
What was the research focus?
The research focused on how fibroblast cells detect viruses and the viral mechanisms used to inhibit this detection. In particular Leonie’s PhD students were examining certain viral DNA receptors such as CAMP and IF116 within cells that are thought to be activated by viral infection and have the potential to be used in future gene therapy.
What did a typical day involve?
A typical day would begin with meeting my supervisor’s PhD student in the morning to have a discussion about any previous results obtained from experiments. As I was working with Hex cells I would normally begin with tissue culture splitting my cells and then preparing them for cell transfections. These procedures were fairly slow as the cells required time to incubate and grow. After the transfections I would conduct either Luciferase assays or Western blot analysis to examine protein content and expression levels. The Luciferase assay could be completed in a matter of hours but the western blot required several days probing with a range of primary and secondary antibodies to obtain results.
What did you enjoy about the internship?
There were a wide range of different things I enjoyed about the internship. Primarily the experiments I was able to conduct! These really helped me improve my lab technique alongside expanding my theoretical knowledge surrounding the topics I was working on.
What didn’t you enjoy about the internship?
The only parts of the internship I didn’t enjoy was doing the calculations to make up solutions for my experiments. This is because my mathematical skills are not particularly strong however by doing the internship these skills significantly improved throughout my time there!
How did you acquire the internship?
I was emailed about it the internship directly by the university and applied with a cover letter via email back! There was no interview required and I received confirmation that I had been successful a few weeks after I applied.